Friday, 20 February 2015

Care factor -1?

Well looks like my nice long break from work is coming to an end soon. Just as the weather picks up to a proper summery hot. I was starting to wonder if we'd get a proper summer this year, it's been a bit mixed. But i've been to the beach a few times in the last couple of weeks and the water's really nice - although most people just seem to go there to sit in the stinking hot sun and barely touch the water if at all (it's like 37 today, although somewhat cooler on the beach it's much hotter in the sun).

Garden kinda went to shit although i've got a row of sweet-corn which should be just about ready to go. Had some hot days but cold nights which seemed to burn the tomatoes and then they got hit with mould or something that killed the leaves off. Still getting a few fruit although grubs are showing up too often. Because they came in dribs and drabs and I wasn't ready I froze enough really nice ripe ones to make tomato sauce when I feel like doing it. Cucumbers were a complete bust. Beans weren't bad. Chillies are ok although i'm eating the lesser ones faster than they ripen. The habaneros are well infront at least and hopefully the ones in pots last a bit longer.

I did almost no hacking. A tiny bit on a web server thing, a little on a space invaders clone. Can't really get into it.

Played some games. Driveclub with it's patches is growing into the masterpiece I always knew it was although I got my first crash on the PS4 using it a couple of days ago. Nobody I know has a PS4 and i'm not in a club which kinda makes the challenges a bit less than they could be, but I go through the community challenges every few days and have a few laps of any that take my fancy. Although most are in the faster cars or longer tracks which I don't find particularly fun. Even won one on Oliver's Landing which is the track i've got closest to 'mastering' (it's the shortest track, and only in forward). I think the Canadian and Indian tracks are the best - prettiest and best track design and road surfaces. The game makes my 46" TV feel too small :( I've been sitting on the coffee table about 1m from the screen if i'm trying to be serious on a track and that makes a huge difference - it also makes the in-driver view work quite well although i'm more of a bonnet man myself. The network code is still a bit flakey - it really sounds like they had to throw it all away and start from scratch and that's going to take months to finish. I've got a small amount of experience with OLTP systems, it would be interesting to know what they did wrong but I guess i'll never know. I'm up to level 41 but only 100 stars into the tours, i feel like buying the season pass except that i doubt i'll get anywhere in them so it seems a little pointless. Although iv'e got two other disc games DC hasn't left the drive for some time. Actually I was poking around where it is and noticed that whole corner of the shelf was covered in spider web with resident daddy long-legs ... i guess i need to do a bit of a clean up.

The resogun update is pretty good although the ranks for the challenges are so insanely high I doubt i'll ever get to try many of them out. I think I will at some point buy the two expansions because the new modes looks like nice (and it's kind of cool the developers were around on the Amiga).

I've been 'buying' most of the PS+ games for months but only occasionally trying them out. The Swapper was a pretty cool play although the whole religious/soul stuff was a bit pointless (as ever). I think i burned through that in one sitting, and did a replay in about an hour - once you know how to solve the puzzles they're mostly pretty easy. I liked Transistor although one-way flirting with a disembodied man's voice is a little off-putting. I've not finished it yet. Thats another game I really have to sit right at the screen to see all the detail (god, wtf would anyone need a 4K TV when I can't even see this one). I tried Infamous: First Light the other day and I guess it was what I expected: infamous is not really for me. The mechanics mostly seem ok although I tend to just keep spamming the radar button otherwise you can't see anyone. I guess my main gripe is that the camera feels claustrophobic - all that pretty town and you spend most of the time looking at the minmap. The environments look pretty amazing though and it moves very smoothly, it seems to be triple buffered but the "frame pacing" is doing a really good job hiding the judder that would normally introduce. Rogue Legacy just seemed, well shit. Very much like many of those C64 ports of early spectrum platform games. Although I think I got further with that than Spelunky which I uninstalled part way through the tutorial levels - just too many controls for what is essentially a crappy oversized Rick Dangerous clone. There was some other digging/exploring game that I gave a bit more of a go of but I just didn't see the point so gave up: at least it was trying to be a bit interesting though.

Back on the PS3 I sunk a few days into Dragons Dogma; came across a pawn with insanely good armour which made the going a lot easier. I kinda got lost for about 20 hours as to where the main "plot" advancement bit was, but i got back on track and now the pawns keep making it obvious by prodding me for the next step. The game doesn't really open up until you hit level 40 ... and at that point just running across the open fields getting from a to b becomes a bit of a drag (even if you have those portal stones, you always seem to leave them in the wrong spot). But after 55 hours in the whole point is lost on me. The graphics on it can look really rough but at other times with the right time of day they can look spectacular, and the character models (particularly the faces) are pretty decent. Tried a few other small things but nothing that I can remember now. I've got a lot of other bigger games i've either not started/opened or barely touched, which I will probably never get around to (small things like "the last of us remastered" ...).

It just takes so much time to play games, and even if you've got a lot of it it seems too much because there's always something else you could be doing with that time instead. I find myself checking to see if anything is worth watching on TV of an evening before thinking about games and it quickly gets too late to start on something. During the day it seems a poor use of time - even if i all i do is fuck around on the computer anyway.

I've also been reading some god-awful "fantasy epic"; The Dragon's Path (well that was the first book). Hate almost all of the characters (except maybe the soldier guy who is about my age and just seems to have ended up where he is through circumstance rather than being a fuckwit/underage slut/completely insane lunatic), the storyline is annoying (medieval world bank/religions/ruling class bullshit), and the story telling mechanic employed isn't great. About the best thing about it is it keeps sending me to sleep, which is actually quite useful for me. Still, I've been trying to plough through it so i can find something better to read. I've got 1 1/3 books to go so I guess it'll be a good few weeks of getting to sleep easier yet :)

But I suppose the most annoying thing is i seem to have gotten gout, or something much like it. One day I had some strong coffee, some beer (while bottling homebrew), then went for a 30km ride on a warm/windy day, dropped by the pub and had 2 irresponsibly-quick jugs of beer, came home and polished off the day with crackers and salami for dinner. Then suddenly out of nowhere it felt like i'd broken my big toe - and i wasn't even sure if i actually had for a while. So then I was basically stuck in the house for 2 weeks playing games (sober!) until i finally got sick of it. It's not particularly painful now but it gets a bit swollen if i use it too much in a given day so i think it's just moved on to some sort of 'stress trauma' of the big toe. Feet have been shitty for a few years so maybe its related. Doctor didn't seem to think it was much to worry about at any rate but i'm cutting way back on the booze for now anyway. I was getting a little bored of that TBH so it wasn't a very hard change although I'd just finished bottling my 5th consecutive batch of homebrew (none of which contributed), so i'll have to see if i can drink it. Wasn't much of a birthday present though.