Cryptomancer

I read something, and I’ve got things to say about it!

Cryptomancer, “a fantasy role-playing game about hacking”, purchased via drivethrurpg.com as print-on-demand hardcover.

What this is not: Shadowrun in a fantasy setting. Sorry if I just smashed your expectations, but I wanted to get that out of the way. So, what is this, then? Glad you asked.
Cryptomancer is a fantasy RPG with mechanics for instantaneous, but not inherently secure communication using crystal shards and the innate-to-all magical ability to work cryptomancy, a magic form of cryptography. You wont roll on hacking, though.

Continue reading Cryptomancer

Geoffrey Regan: Great Naval Blunders

I have read a book. As the interested reader might have guessed by now, it is “Great Naval Blunders” by Geoffrey Regan, a book about “history’s worst sea battle decisions from ancient times to the present day”.
This thing got on my list when our favourite gnomish overlord, The Mighty Jingles, read, or rather retold, the books opener “The Voyage of the Damned” on Mingles with Jingles Ep. 143, starting at 16:10 – which is the story of the Imperial Baltic Fleet, sent to the pacific to fight the Japanese. The amount of hilarity ensuing from geography alone gives a tiny glimpse into what is about to happen, and it only gets better from there.

So, expecting more like that, I went along and bought it.
It is… something different. More true to the title. It usually holds less absurd hilarity and way more tragedy, born from anything from faulty equipment, gross misinterpretations of the situation, administrative meddling, Admiralty unable or unwilling to understand technical or operational situations and, of course, sheer incompetence.
For those with any interest in naval history or history of warfare, or looking for a wide array of cautionary tales: this might be a book you want to look at.

However, it feels like a quite britain-centric book. One reason for that might be the long tradition of Her Majesty’s Navy, the traditions of Her Majesty’s Navy and with that the expectations weighting in on Her Majesty’s naval personnel and the organisational structure of Her Majesty’s Navy.
Next on the popularity list are the Germans, with some stints by the France, the Spanish, the Americans and the Turks. This list is not exhaustive, but those are the major players staying in mind.
Also, tales told end with the Second World War. Given the fact that it was written in 1993, this is a bit sad – on the other hand, I would totally accept the excuse that Regan didn’t want to cross commanders still alive enough to complain about their place in the book.

The book comes with two times eight high-gloss photo pages, illustrating some of the stories and giving faces (or ships) to the mentioned names. The print quality is good, but nothing extraordinary, and with the hardcover well worth the price of 15,99€.

Mad Max

Yet another work of fiction in which we follow the follies of Max Rockatansky. Whoever thought of this name still deserves a medal.
In case this isn’t clear: this is about the 2015-multiplatform-game (inb4 “late to the party”), not the 1990 NES-game.

Mad Max, build somewhat around the most recent movie of the franchise, Fury Road, in that it shares some of the locations, some of the lore, and some of the characters. It is a game build using the generic open-world-blueprint without being in any way innovative at all. Which is not a bad thing: the game knows perfectly what it wants to be and manages to be exactly that. I cannot say that I’m extraordinarily thrilled by it, but with the exception of some parts of the story I’m by no means disappointed.
Obligatory warning: there will be spoilers beyond the cut. Consider yourself warned. I also totally forgot screenshotting things, so… yeah.
Continue reading Mad Max

Things to come

Hey there.

To force myself to produce some content from August on, here are some things I might have something to say about. YMMV.

  • Mad Max – First Impressions
  • The System Shock Remake (there is a kickstarter, I kid you not)
  • Very First Impressions of The Witcher 2, or rather a rant about interface design and why I might never go on with this game
  • Anno 2205: Orbit DLC, which will be released on July 20th and played by me as soon as possible
  • Day-to-day use of the NAS, as soon as I can get my ass moving and set up a regular back-up
  • And on the mobile side of things, there is You Must Build A Boat and Pokemon Go vs Ingress

I might actually follow up with some actual content.

2015 – end-of-the-year-stuff

A nice evening, and a happy new year to all three of you.

Here’s the obligatory list.
GOTY: Life is Strange
No further discussion neccessary.

MOTY: Mad Max Fury Road
Honorable mentions to Inside Out and Kingsman: The Secret Service

BOTY: The Martian
Two more recommendations, even if I haven’t finished either so far: Debt – the first 5000 years and Leviathan Wakes (Exodus 1)

Another honorable mention goes to the graphic novel Sunstone, which is ongoing on DeviantArt. So far I’ve read the first two collected volumes, and it could get way worse before even remotely getting bad.

Have a good time.

The Steam Controller

So, The Lord GabeN, in all His glory, hath heard my prayers and gifted upon me a Shiny New Toy.

The Steam Controller.
Why did I get it?
Because I’m an engineer, the subsequent pathological love for interesting new tech-stuff, disposable income and poor impulse control.
Also, I wanted to try out controller-based PC-gaming for quite some time and decided to save myself for the Light of the Lord GabeN, instead reverting to the tools used by the Filthy Console Peasants. But seriously: I really wanted to take a look at this thing. It arrived on Friday, I got it on Saturday, and over the weekend I tested a whole bunch of games with it. Here is what I found.

[Disclaimer I: I never really used a controller before, except in agony-filled afternoons when friends decided we would game on their consoles. I have no way of comparing this thing to any other controller, so I wont.]
[Disclaimer II: Depending on how things work out, there might be a follow-up post some day, hopefully addressing problems mentioned here.]

Continue reading The Steam Controller

Gaming and nitpicking. Probably Rocket Science.