To simulate a cultist

I like many have been on the KickStarter bandwagon since the dizzying days of 2011, in years passed there has been a random parcel has been delivered each month and I’ve not had the foggiest what was inside until opening, kinda like having 12 birthdays. Over the years I have mostly backed board games, but there have been a few albums, a handful of computer games and not forgetting helping out the fine folks at Massively Overpowered when they needed rehoming.

Last October I backed the game Cultist Simulator by the studio weatherfactory.biz, I had played the prototype of the game earlier in the year so I kind of knew what I was getting into.

 

I’ll be honest, I generally enjoy all the things that lurch forth from the mind of Alexis Kennedy so I jumped at the chance to see where this new adventure was likely to take us. You may know Alexis from Failbetter Games working on the Fallen London & Sunless Sea, with guest appearances as a writer on Dragon Age: The Last Court and Stellaris : Horizon Signal.
Mr Kennedy is one of the co-founders of WeatherFactor along with the awesome Lottie Beavan, also from Failbetter Games where she was the Producer of Fallen London (web/iOS) and Sunless Skies and it’s expansion.

Given this duos past form, I am very excited to see how the game develops and takes its hideous final form over time. Also the in-game icons are being supplied by Clockwork Cuckoo who did the icons for another favourite game of mine Big Pharma.

In this screenshot, I am about to expire

Cultist Simulator is a narrative focused game that sees you trying to live a “normal” life, dreaming of strange places and having disturbing visions, getting that work/life balance right is important so that you don’t starve to death, weigh up the odds of doing manual labour as an injury could turn out to be fatal.

At first the game seems straight forward but as you get further into the story you discover it’s a complex juggling act, as all your actions take time to complete (less than a minute usually) and sometimes you find yourself egging the timer on so you can try and play a card that is time-sensitive before it evaporates.
Things get more frantic as you unlock more actions that can be performed and each has elements to be discovered, like the correct combination of cards it needs to trigger an event, or a new unlock.

Since backing the game there has been an Alpha release that naturally has more polish than the prototype did, more to interact with, more ways to fail, more things to juggle while consuming the wonderfully dark narrative.

So If you are in the market for a narrative game that’s a break for the norm then give Cultist Simulator a whirl : https://alexiskennedy.itch.io/cultist-simulator

Memorable gaming moments Part 2

So my plan to blog each day in January may have been a little ambitious, given that this Month is one of the busiest in the industry in which I work. I had started typing up a post when the Out of Hours phone goes off an my time is sucked up with looking at stats for a few hours. By the time I was finished I decided that I was just going to get some sleep.

4 ) During my college years I would spend most weekends at a friend house smoking, drinking and playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It may have been a little old at the time but there was plenty to keep a bunch of drunks happy. There was races and battle mode, then there was shaving seconds off a time trial.

Things got serious when we would attempt to race on Ghost Valley 1 only using the mini-map or only using the rearview mirror, that only appears while reversing.

It wasn’t unusual to have button impressions on my fingers for days after playing.

 

5 ) The first memorable Playstation game I played was Resident Evil, rented from Blockbusters and played on Dok’s shiny new Playstation.

Excluding the acting, which is amazing by the way, the games fixed angles and music was enough to keep you on the edge of your seat nearly all the time. The first dog encounter everyone jumped out of their skin, it was amazing, the game didn’t need the all out horror just the tense moments and unfolding story.

To cap it all off we didn’t have a memory card to save the games, so we play it pretty much non-stop for days on end. We had to return the game and then re-rented it but having completed a large chunk already could effectively speed run through most of the mansion to progress further.
We got a memory care nearly at the end.

 

6 ) Once I had passed probation at my first job I decided to buy a PC, it was bought so I could get on the world wide web, in Fact it was on that PC I started writing the first versions of this very site. I couldn’t even tell you what the specs were but I remember the first game that was bought for it was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

As you maybe aware the game was about an Anti-terrorist unit named Rainbow, originating from a book of the same name.

The game needed strategy, patience and timing in order to execute the tactical insertion plan, the game was unique in that you had the option of playing through the scenario controlling members of the team, or you could watch it all unfold through cameras and give orders from the safety of your living room.

As the game has evolved there is usually a strong focus on story, but the planning and strategy components are long gone. I recently backed a game that was in development that had very similar qualities to the original Rainbow Six, it is called DoorKickers by Killhouse games.

Mind the gap!

I have been asking my Role Playing friends what would be the one Role Playing setting they would love to try out, maybe from TV,Film or Book, and yes i’m digging around for ideas on a home brewed FATE game. Some enjoy the fantasy world and are happy for another in a similar area, others want to go down the Sci-Fi route

Personally I have always wanted to play a game in the universe of London Below from the Neil Gaiman book Neverwhere. If you are unaware of the story, it was originally a TV mini-series that was mostly set in a world that exists beneath London, those that live there or end up there, appear as if they are almost functioning in an alternate reality.
All trade and deals is performed by barter or favours rather than monetary exchange, the world is rich with characters, groups battling for survival, many have names that sound similar to places in London Above.

There are already a number of Neverwhere themed RPGs in existence, I already own the Third Edition RPG by Postmortem Studios, which I’d like to try at some point but I’m tempted to try and homebrew a Fate Accelerated version in the future.

I also like the idea that the same thing can exist beneath other cities and places, it would need more knowledge about the place, but I like the idea of their being further adventures away from London.

  • What would be your Favourite RPG setting?
  • Would it be a one off like The Thing or Alien, or something more long term?

Hotdesk Solution

A bit of background to start with, Munki and I had set up accounts on our own PC’s for when Little Troll (LT) started using the PC for Netflix, CBBC iPlayer & playing games, so we are accustomed to locked down browser accounts with white-listed websites and where possible games weren’t linked to an socially active account like Steam or Origin, GOG is a blessing.

After a recent upgrade I had nearly all the parts for another PC that we could build as a dedicated machine for Little Troll that we could have the games installed as needed, lock down the websites & applications, time limit the usage. This get around LT having to install minecraft mods on both Mine and Munki’s machines, not to mention game saves and settings.

Additionally we have a Steam Link sitting in the Living Room that just needs to connect to Big Picture mode which isn’t possible when a machine is in use by another account, so having a seperate machine would be beneficial in that regard too.

So it was decided to crack on with project.

Plan A

We have limited desk space so adding an additional monitor/mouse/keyboard on a permanent basis wasn’t practical, so the plan was to devise a system that would allow the most flexibility when it came to being able to hot desk.

I am familiar with using KVM switches as they allow the same Mouse/Keyboard/Monitor & Speakers to be shared between machines, so Plan A was to look into the possible use of HDMI KVM switches.

Plan B

So when I started to look into the details of Plan A it turns out that that a HDMI KVM switches would result in:

  1. a mass of wires to manage
  2. generally more expense
  3. no easy way toggle three machine between 2 monitors

So Plan B came into existence which was to move away from splitting mouse, keyboard and sound, focusing on the Video output.

This meant some a cost buying a wireless Keyboard\mouse bundle, a Bluetooth headset and 3 HDMI splitters, however the cost was less than the HDMI KVM switches, so we opted for this approach.

The result

I am happy to report than the solution has worked very well, allowing hot desking to work seamlessly. The HDMI splitters are actually switches which have a toggle button so they don’t automatically switch, additionally they are bi-directional, so the same type could be used for the 3 devices needed for the project.

Now at the touch of two buttons, and carrying of a keyboard and mouse swapping between seats is rather easy.

 

Screenshot Showcase

I enjoy taking screenshots in games normally you have to tweak setting in order to get rid of the GUI, amend the configuration file or use some third party software.
So when a game like Euro Truck Sim 2 has a build in camera mode, it makes me very happy as it allows you to pause the game, alter the camera angle and view.

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