2018 Retrospective

So this started out as a short list and kind of bloomed into quite a weighty post, so I’m sorry if it’s a pain to read.
I wanted to list some of the stuff that I had achieved and things that made me happy in 2018, I also wanted to broadly cover personal goals I would like to achieve this year.

2018 Highlights

Meetups

This year we got to see so many people that we mostly talk to online, there were some new faces and some already familiar to us too.

Broadsider – We had the chance to meet BroadSider twice in 2018 when we were up in his neck of the woods, Broadsider is a wonderful person that is very entertaining regardless of if he is streaming or in real life.
We got to visit one of oldest gaming friends which involved a trip on a ferry, which is always an adventure travelling to an island.
FluffyBunEsq – Fluffy doesn’t live too far away so we met up with him a few times this year sometimes in Cardiff other times closer to where he lives.
BoopleSnootBex – We met up with Boople on one of ours outings to other parts of the country, despite it being a last minute event we all had a great time.
Lucanaii and EngineerAirhead made time in their UK visit to come to Wales, it was amazing to met them both and we had a lovely day out in Cardiff.
One of my dearest and oldest internet friends (back from the dial up days) was visiting London with her other half, so Munki, LittleTroll and I travelled up to the big smoke to and had a wonderful day catching up chatting about things that had changed since their last visit.
There was of course Twitch London but more about that later.

GameBlast18

Our third year taking part in the Special Effect gaming marathon weekend. Last year the Digital Rogues were were joined by FluffyBunEsq who went all out in his fundraising activities,
I raised over £650 which is a new personal best for me and collectively our Digital Rogues team raised £2,264.86 which is a stunning 350% better than our previous years total.
We were very lucky to have got some amazing gifts to give away from Developers and our community members.

EGX Rezzed

Munki and I decided to go to Rezzed it was kind of a last minute thing but there were two good reasons.
Firstly was to met Becky Frost from Special Effect who has been one of the primary contacts that we have conversed with for GameBlast, We had chance to sit down, grab food and have a wonderful chat. Becky is an amazing person and really has such enthusiasm for the work that she and Special Effect does.
Another attraction at Rezzed was to get the the chance to play on Megaquarium, the first playable Demo which I was very excited about and impressed by.

Also at Rezzed was a stack of other titles including:
Cultist Simulator – I game I that was already playing since the Kickstarter, but got some great stickers for my clan.
Yorkshire Gubbins – We packed some Hendersons crisps freshly collected from Yorkshire to give to the wonderful creator Charlotte Gore.
Unforeseen Incidents – This game was being shown and I got to play a Demo and speak to the artist, I was sold on the point and click adventure game, instantly.
Siege & the Sandfox – A lovely looking platformer that I got to play briefly and the gameplay reminded me of old school platform games were there was more than one way to approach a situation.

The Role Playing

2018 was great for RPG’s I got to run D&D 5E starter sessions for new players as well as running 2 campaigns which are so funny in various ways, but always a good laugh.
Breaks with my clan game allowed me to GM a game of Achtung! Cthulhu (Fate Edition) and Monster of the Week, my fellow clan mate GM’d which allowed me to play Blades in the Dark and a custom Fate Accelerated game themed on Planetside.

Each of these was very different and allowed us to try out new systems and settings, all of them were very fun.

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Twitch Affiliate

Since I stream for fun, getting affiliate was never a goal that I had set out to achieve, however at the end of May I finally ticked all the required boxes and got the email.
I only really stream once a week so I hope people don’t expect too much from me, however I appreciate everyone that stops by my streams, Sunday mornings isn’t when folks generally wake up early, so having folks tune into me while they are doing their usual household chores is kind of great.

I like having the emote but I’m still not 100% sure on how to have to fill all of that stuff in my on Tax Self-Assessment forms next year.

Twitch London Community Meet Up

The meetup in London was kind of last minute deal, we had seen it was happening but there weren’t any streamers we knew going, so we dismissed as being the non-drinking type, social events can kind of be awkward when most around you are drinking, even more awkward if you don’t really know many people.

When Psyche confirmed she would be attending, Munki and I started planning to ensure that we could make it, a round trip to London was the easiest since we didn’t have time to figure out a hotel or child care for an extended duration.
We were in the unusual situation that we had met Psyches other half in 2017 while he was in the UK on business, but alas we had failed to manage to meet her on any of her trips, such as FrontierCon and GamesCon.
Having a child means that travelling for GamesCon isn’t a viable option, so we had to make doubly sure that we could attend this event.

Wonderfully Psyche and Kolo were happy to meet before the event it’s self, which was rather awesome as we got to hang out and chat in a more causal situation (plus we didn’t have to compete with music and the louder background noise of revellers that we would encounter at the event later that evening).
It was wonderful to meet Kolo who is such a nice person and both her and her community are very welcoming, we got to meet some of her community members later that evening.

Finally got to give Psyche a big hug, after many years of watching her streams, I can confirm she is every bit as lovely in real life and we were so pleased that we had made the trip.
Also that day Breadicus was also able to meet up beforehand which was great to put a face to the name of community member, we met PaulArcher in the event itself and he’s as funny in real life too 😀 .

As I alluded the evening event was nice but as with anything of that nature, loud and busy for the most part, we got some free swag and a lovely photo. We also managed to see Becky Frost who was in full SpecialEffect mode with a squad of volunteers backing her up.
Munki and I made our exit at 9 so we could get the last train back to Wales, all in all it was an absolutely lovely day.

New PC parts

After a solid performance for 7 years I finally retired my trusty 2nd Gen i5 2500 and grabbed myself a shiny new 9th Gen i5 9600k. It’s been on the cards for a while but I kept pushing it back so that
I’ve not really pushed the system with anything meaty yet but I’ve been pondering getting a new shooter at some point, now may be that time.
Sadly this move meant that I finally had to leave Windows 7 behind and move to Windows 10. (I makes me feel ill just typing that.)

Health

So this year was quiet tough for me as I struggled with my mental health to the point that I was off work for an extended period of time.
I had moderate Anxiety and Depression but to took me a good while to recognise that there was a problem. I got some help from my employer who put me in contact with a Psychologist service with a handful of sessions covered by them.
It helped me to get back into work, I’m not completely rid of though thoughts that were causing the issues but I feel alot more positive about facing them head on.


So what’s for 2019

Play more RPGs!

I am getting back into GMing and will restart a campaign I had to pause due to my health issues.
Planning some more RPG workshops to help people get into playing and maybe branching out away from DND, so others can taste different games.
I also have so many RPGs I want to try out at somepoint some in space, some hero settings, some cyberpunk, others completely off the wall.

Gameblast19

We are all registered and getting setup for this years GameBlast19, this year we hope to have another member joining us for the fun and we can all achieve new personal bests.
In the next month I will be trying to shape up my stream list and focusing on drumming up sponsorship as well as sending out some emails to game developers to see if we can get any content for giveaways.
I think as we had issues distributing physical items last year we are likely to stick to digital items for the most part.

Streaming

I want to get back into streaming with a web camera again, after I kind of fell out of the habit in the early part of the year I never returned to it and I’d like to fix that If I can.
I used to do an adhoc Thursday evening stream that focused more on Role Playing and map creation, I’m not sure if I want to return to map making again but I’d like to throw in some extra streams maybe once or twice a month.

Blogging

You knew it was coming, as always I’d like to challenge myself to try and blog at the very minimum one entry per month. I hope that it will be more frequent but let’s start somewhere realistic shall we.
I need to review my BlogRoll.
I also need to get better at checking my RSS reader and commenting more on other peoples posts more often.

Games

There are so many good games coming out and so many games in my Steam backlog, I want to try and get my played percentage from 51% (via steamdb, 459 out of 898 games played) close to 55%.
I am gonna try and stop picking up bundles when there is only one title I’m remotely interested in contained in the bundle.

See you soon

I hope that see you all again soon, I hope your 2018 was enjoyable and that your 2019 is even better.

Getting back up to speed

Hi,
You maybe wondering what happened to my Blaugust efforts which I kind of kicked off but then I vanished part way through.

Well I kind of need to jump back to earlier in the year to explain, I had been becoming more and more stressed at various things, some of it comes from my home life and some from my ongoing health concerns, but the bulk were being triggered by different elements at work.

I had been trying a number of things to help me stop being so stressed and exhausted, different things that helped to stop me from tipping over the edge. They did just that, but they didn’t really deal with or solve the underlying causes, so predictably that dam was gonna break, it was just a matter of when.

In the middle of August I had a stomach upset that lasted a week, I knew that I was also pretty run down and exhausted, I spent most of that week in bed, recharging my batteries or so I thought. But the following Monday morning I prepared to head out but just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house, it was only really at this point did I notice how completely overwhelmed I had become and things weren’t great.

So there you have it, for the last few months I have been working on dealing with my anxiety and depression. Thankfully I had some great support from my family and friends, plus from a psychologist who was introduced to me by my employer.
So I’m still learning how to view and process things differently, in a way that means I’m not getting wound up.

GameBlast 18

So February is fast approaching and that means that it will soon time for GameBlast, the gaming marathon event in support of the charity Special Effect.

I support a number of different and awesome charities covering a wide range of different missions, some local, some national and some international. But as a gamer Special Effect is the charity closest to my heart, enabling people with physical disabilities to play games, socialise and get the enjoyment from games that other people take for granted.

There is no set structure as to what you need to do other than in being gaming related, it can be PC, Console even Board games if you like. Also there is no mandatory duration needed, you can play for however long you want, a couple of hours or longer.
This will be mine and Munki’s third year taking part in this wonderful event and I’m very excited, we are doing the same configuration as last year with two 12 hour stream Saturday and Sunday from at Midday to Midnight.

This year I’m planning on doing another long distance Euro Truck Simulator 2 journey, this time we can go even further as we can now head into Italy, maybe a trip from Bergen to Catania via La Rochelle. Thoughts?

You can learn more about Special Effect here and more about GameBlast18 here.
If you would like to support me

Is there anything you would like to see me play?


The video below is just over 5 minutes and it highlights all the good things that SpecialEffect have done in their 10 years of existence, if you get time to watch it please do.

Hello 2018

I admit that I’ve been pretty pants at blogging over the last few years, I would like to improve on that, I enjoy sharing thoughts, ideas and ponderings with cyberspace.
So when Vero blogged that she was going to challenge herself to blog each day in January, I though it had been a few years since I did Blaugust and I kind of enjoyed having a goal that can keep me focused.

So this is the start of my new 2018 blog posts, firstly I decided to quickly look back at 2017 and what have been my favourite parts. I’m going to avoid all the worldwide political nonsense because, it gets me worked up and this isn’t Facebook 😛

RolePlaying

I enjoyed role playing so much in my youth but once I started work it fell by the wayside, 2017 for me was the year that I returned to Role Playing and to Dungeons and Dragons. For my clan I started a pre-scripted adventure that has given us 10 months of giggles, admittedly some all of the sessions just descended into chaos and fits of laughter. But I have known these folks for the best part of thirteen years I know that when they are laughing, they are having fun and after all isn’t that the point.

That said I have started running the same campaign with some other friends and it too descended into fits of laughter, so I think the common denominator is me ,Welshtroll purveyor of finest RPG giggles.

I have finally got to GM a Fate game, after owning a collection of the books for some time, I convinced my clan that we could a break from DnD with an excursion into an Achtung! Cthulhu game, which is proudly named “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Shoggoth?” the game of cause has turned into a mixture of Kelly’s Heroes and ‘Allo ‘Allo!

Music

Alongside some new albums by some of my favourite bands I have had the pleasure of discovering (new to me) artists this year, I drift more into the world of electronic music, finding that it complements the heavier stuff and finding some music with a darker cyberpunk theme has been bliss.

Earlier in 2017 I decided that I would give Google Music a bash as my amazon music experience had be fraught with hurdles and miscommunication, that resulted in me having no service from them, but still being emailed monthly to say that my subscription is about to end. I have found that discovering music much easier on Google Music and have made purchases based on those discoveries.

This was how I discovered Makeup And Vanity Set who’s albums I find wonderfully though provoking, in that there is often an album theme that you can use to start the ideas of what each songs is trying to convey.

Streamers and Streaming

This year I have watched more streamers than ever before, thanks to twitch affiliates I have also managed to show my support for those streamers directly either with subs or cheers. As it stands I barely watch any live or recorded TV now, there is a great deals of folks who keep me entertained and with whom I can interact with both during and after streams.

I have always been cautious of considering people as content, (stemming back to how games companies have often delivered a game/world that is sparse on predefined content and expect players to be that content for each other) but I have to admit there are some amazing streamers and communities that have dispelled that belief when it comes to streaming.

Personally I have been streaming on and off this year, hampered slightly by my episode of vertigo. However I’ve been quite pleased with how it has been going and I’ve enjoyed myself quite a bit.
In 2018 I hope to continue to stream with increased with regularity, plus not forgetting that we have signed up for GameBlast for the third year in a row, raising money for the amazing charity Special Effect.

 

I was going to touch on my games from 2017 but I think that will wait until another post, mostly as it was so good.
See you tomorrow

BPPV and I

After getting a head-cold from co-worker I awoke one morning shortly afterwards and was barely able to stand due to dizziness. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) usually affects persons over 50, but its seems that once you’ve had it you are more likely to get it again. For me this is at least the third time, possibly fourth time that I have been afflicted with intense dizziness and nausea.

It’s thought that small debris/calcium often referred to as crystals enter unexpected parts of the ear causing it to send the wrong information to your brain that you are still moving when you are not. It’s OK though as without treatment it often clears up after several weeks or months.

In order to treat BPPV there are a two main methods “Epley Manoeuvre” and the “Brandt-Daroff exercises”, both of these aim to help to move the debris into a place that doesn’t cause vertigo any longer. So far I haven’t had much joy with the Brandt-Daroff exercises, I’m continuing to take Cinnarizine daily to help me feel more normal, but frankly I’d rather the blasted thing was gone.

As I’m not able to drive at the moment so I’ve not been able to commute to work, but thankfully I have been able to work from home on my Laptop, which I am rather grateful for as not having something to focus on during the weekdays would drive me up the wall. Having me around in the daytime is certainly getting to Munki and impacting her daily routines. Some days I don’t feel the effects too much and wonder if things are getting better, usually to contrast a good day is followed by an awful day where I struggle to sit upgrade for any extended period of time.

Fingers crossed the exercises help to get rid of this soon.