Archive for the ‘News’ Category

After Action Reports vs Let’s Plays

January 15, 2012 3 comments

I’ve been thinking about the term “Let’s Play” and the term “After Action Report”. I had considered them interchangeable, but I’ve decided there is a difference, and it’s in how the story is delivered. AARs are usually posted on a web page as a story without comment from the audience. Let’s Plays, on the other hand, are usually written up on a forum and often include a lot of reader interaction with the author.

With this handy and sensible definition I’m going to start using the terms on this blog with this distinction in mind.

Categories: News, Ponderings

2011 in review

January 1, 2012 Comments off

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 770,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 10 sold-out events for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: News

Easy Gold Farming!

August 17, 2011 5 comments

So I discovered today that my private email address has been used to register for a Battlenet account. I got an email telling me to click to authenticate the registered email, etc etc. So, thinking myself a clever-clogs, I clicked the link while planning to force a password reset on the Battlenet account so as to prevent the account’s use by miscreants and to stop any future use by gold farmers or spam bots or whoever farm these things… well…

BIG MISTAKE. In order to reset your Battlenet password you need to know three things, the email address registered (check!), the first name (“Zhang” was in the email, check!) and a last name. Shit. No last name in the email and ticking “no last name” on the password reset page.

I tried to email blizzard at, but the auto-reply says the emails are no longer monitored and I should visit the support center and put in a ticket. But first, what would I need to do? You guessed it. Log in.


So now some spam bot or gold farmer is happily using my email address to get up to mischief on Battlenet and there’s not a thing I can do about it. Well done, Blizzard, you truly are the masters of account security!

Categories: News

Scheming, spying, double-dealing and plotting – Another day in EVE Online

June 24, 2011 2 comments

EVE OnlineIf you’ve heard of EVE Online you probably already know a bit about this complex and convoluted space MMORPG. You may also know about the depth of politics and conniving that goes on behind the scenes. What you may not know, and was news to me, is the degree to which this politics, plotting and scheming plays out in the Alliance Tournament, the PVP matches organised by EVE Online developers, CCP. Well, now you can learn all about the plots of 2011 tournament winners Hydra by reading this awesome forum post mirror of a forum post by Duncan. Yes, it is rich with EVE jargon, but it is also rich with fascinating detail on how Hydra destroyed their alliance competition – and what’s great is that the Tournament itself was only a minor detail in all their work!

Categories: News, Sci-Fi Tags:

The end of DarkLife

May 10, 2011 Comments off

Seven years ago I was in the UK and playing Second Life. Well, playing isn’t the right word, perhaps just exploring what was a new online space back then. It was seven years ago when I met Bram, a European comp-sci student, and suggested that SL was missing any kind of real game content. With this thought in mind we started building a fantasy MMO inside Second Life. We called it DarkLife and it was uniquely interesting content in a world that, at times, wasn’t very interactive. And seven years on, it’s closing.

From our little home DarkLife proved so popular with other Second Life players that we quickly moved to our own island (borrowed, and then bought) and for six years-or-so we owned and operated the island of Navora with DarkLife content covering every square inch. DarkLife let players level, chose skills, buy and sell weapons, items and armor, purchase spells and potions and battle a range of animated monsters. For Second Life, I think it was an awesome achievement and I’ve not heard of much that has matched it – or lasted as long. Almost all of the credit goes to Bram and Crash Adams; Bram programmed and Crash honed his increasingly awesome art skills on building the world, both of them battling with the code and art limitations of Second Life, and all of us battling with the lack of interest from SL devs in promoting the content of their players.

My involvement ended many years ago as I lacked either art of code skills and my interest in Second Life had generally faded as the developers failed to offer any kind of support to their own player “developers”. However, I maintained a close interest in what Crash and Bram got up to and it was fun to hear Crash’s ideas and hear of new features.

But I’ve been told the time has come to close DarkLife. Both Crash and Bram are busy with real life and after seven years the game would need a total re-write and more promotion work to be cost-neutral (or profitable). As a side-note, DarkLife was profitable from day 1 until very recently! Another awesome achievement, I reckon! Neither can face this task and so Navora island has been sold to Crash for some future projects and the game closed.

It as a fun ride and I’m very proud of Crash and Bram for what they’ve achieved, but all good things must come to an end one day, and so it is with DarkLife!

Oh, and a fan made a video saying goodbye!

Categories: News

Last Chance to See – The start of a new series

April 23, 2011 2 comments

I’m going to start a new series – “Last Chance to See”.  The plan is to play a number of dying online games before they are closed down for good. I’ll be part-digital botanist, part-pathologist, exploring vast, empty landscapes, half-finished worlds and empty promises.

First up will be Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, a fantasy MMO by Sigil Games (co-founded by Brad McQuaid, one of the lead designers of EverQuest). Launched in 2007, Vanguard started with 14 servers and now supports just two and hasn’t been updated since April 2010.  How long will it keep on going? With no developers working on it can’t cost much to run so it seems likely Sony Online will let this undead MMO shamble across the internet for a while yet.

If you have any suggestions for further explorations, please let me know in the comments!

Categories: News Tags:

Thoughtful Dwarf Fortress write-up

February 14, 2011 1 comment

There’s a really great write-up on just why Dwarf Fortress is interesting over on The Quixotic Engineer. I recommend a read if you’re new to Dwarf Fortress or wondering what all the fuss is about. Matthew covers the interesting elements of the game beautifully and there are some useful links there as well!

Categories: News Tags:

AAR: Twitter, Trolling, Robots and 3d Printers

February 14, 2011 1 comment

A friend of mine has written up a great description of a competition for social influence that he and I (and others) were involved in recently. We used (code) bots and Twitter to try and influence a group of Twitter users and had a lot of fun! I highly recommend reading his write-up, especially the screen shots of the bot-target interactions – our bot came up (randomly) with some pretty funny conversations!

Categories: News Tags:

Baldur’s Gate letsplay

February 2, 2011 Comments off

“Someone” has written a nice Baldur’s Gate letsplay! Remember that wonderful RPG from when we were all young and innocent? There are four parts up right now and if you feel like a trip down memory lane then I recommend giving it a read!

Categories: Fantasy, News Tags:

Matrix Games price reduction

January 16, 2011 Comments off

Since I’ve bagged on about Matrix Games before and their high prices, I feel I should give them some credit when it’s due. Latest news is that the prices on games by Panther Games have dropped! Yes, you can get Battles from the Bulge for $60 instead of $80, Conquest of the Aegean for $40 instead of $60 and Highway t he Reich for $20 instead of $50.

Categories: News