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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Memorable gaming moments Part 1

So I was pondering a topic for day and go to wondering about gaming moments that stood out to me, not just in recent memory but through-out my gaming career. So I sat down and thought about all the times, that I fell in love with gaming over and over again for different reasons.

1) I should start towards the beginning as do all good tales, for me this was the ZX Spectrum+, it was bought as a family device but my mother and I knew it would use that would use it most. The day we got it, my dad brought it home pretty late and despite being excited I had to sleep before setting it up.

So that’s what I did, until about 5am when I decided that I couldn’t resist any longer and crept downstairs to hook up the machine, my mother had exactly the same idea, so we sat in-front of the TV reading the manual and figuring out the cassettes.

2) Jumping forward my next favourite moment is when I completed R-Type on the Sega Master System.
I had been playing for a good few hours and was finally making some headway when the D-Pad on the controller snapped off.

I paused the game and after some testing with the rubber domed movement sensors, I decided to carry on. Crazily I managed to complete the game despite the controller giving up on me.

3) In the 90’s I had the pleasure of visiting a family members house that had a Philips CD-i, there were a number of games that I found utterly amazing, in part due to the graphics, but mostly due to the Story.

3.1) Being the type that enjoyed logic puzzles the first game that I ever played on the CD-i was The 7th Guest, the game used pre-rendered 3D graphic sequences, featuring rooms and actors, that explained the story as it unfolded. The game was utterly amazing in how it drew the player into the mystery.

3.2) The second game was Burn:Cycle, which as a point and click adventure game that use Full Motion Video and had a 2 hour deadline in which it could be completed. This game was set in a futuristic world and was centered around hackers,it used stylised graphics to a certain degree with gave the the game an almost cartoonish look at times (think Max headroom).

With these two games it dawned on me that games could be more than just a platformer, beat ’em up or driving game, a far cry from the text based adventures like The Hobbit I played on the Spectrum.

So I got this far and realised that this was going to take me longer than I first expected, so this will be part 1, look out for the next instalment.

Android Apps 2018

Outside of the regular applications on my Android devices, I decided to list some of my frequently used applications.

Pixlr

[Free/Paid] Aside from the usual photo focused applications, I often find that performing simple tasks like rotating or trimming a photo isn’t always that straight forward so my goto app is Pixlr. Another feature that I use Pixlr for is the ability to create a varied number of photo collage.

Google Keep

[Free] I use Google keep for all manner of purposes, as you can cut and paste all sorts of things into a note, it’s become my goto application for saving notes and links when I’m out and about. I can then access them via my tablet or desktop when needed.

Pocket Casts

[Paid] This application remains my favourite Podcast, I haven’t discovered a feature that is missing yet. It does cost, but then I’d been using it for years and believe it to be my best android purchase to date

WifiScheduler

[Free] I know there are alot of apps that focus on automating tasks on your devices, however I didn’t want something that need to be tweaked for disabling and re-enabling, Wireless, so this app will switch on and off on a schedule. Which means I’m not spending half the day with Wifi enabled and no networks.

Nova Launcher with Belle UI Icon Pack

[Paid] I can’t imagine going back to a stock Launcher for my Android devices now, the ability to configure small homescreen details is something that eluded me for so long, Grouping Applications on tabs means I only see the common apps first, plus I can hide app I don’t want to see, like the build in HTC apps.

Ticket to Ride Scoreboard

[Free] If you play any Ticket To Ride board game in real life, then this application is a must for taking the pain out of verifying and calculating scores. There are a few apps that do the same thing but had adverts, but this one I have been using for years without a sniff of adverts being added.

My Data Manager – Data Usage

[Free] I’ve been using this app forever as originally I only had 1GB data and the default apps if not changed can burn through data with automatica update pretty fast. This app was a godsend in locating what app are using the data but also daily usage alerts if you are predicting to go over your data plan.