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Showing posts from January, 2015

"The tank is holding"

I wonder if there is a more welcome phrase in all of PC gaming than these four simple words: "The tank is holding"?  They mean that you have reached that  point in a battle where your defensive capabilities have proven themselve capable of surviving anything the enemy can throw at them. It is the tipping point. Prior to that moment the battle is a desperate struggle for survival with an uncertain outcome. After that moment you know that they cannot kill you so it is your turn to take the initiative and find a way to kill them. Knowing that you cannot lose all that remains is find a way to win. According to Wikipedia the use of the word "Tanking" to describe a unit or team's ability to absorb damage originated in the text based Multi User DUngeons (MUDS) of the 1990s.  The concept probably reached its full potential  in the Tank, Heal, Damage triumvirate of massively multi player games such as Everquest. With classes specialised in each of these roles player

Exploring My Families Broadband Usage

In an idle moment I checked our families monthly broadband statistics and I was quite surprised by the numbers. The last time I actively perused these figure was perhaps eight years ago when we had a 30Gb monthly allowance and I remember that our usage rarely ever exceeded 10Gb per month. Internet speeds have increased a lot since then, the web has become more data rich, game downloads have become bigger, my teenage kids have developed insatiable appetites for online connectivity and of course Netflix has happened. Taking all of this into account I think that I would have expected a ten fold increase in internet usage - perhaps 100Gb typical usage per month.  Here are the numbers for the last few months:  Broadband Usage History Billing period Downloaded Uploaded Total 07 Dec - 06 Jan 336.66 GB 69.10 GB 405.76 GB 07 Nov - 06 Dec 218.61 GB 75.39 GB 294.00 GB 07 Oct

Bemoaning the demise of Dragon Age's tactics system

It is with much sadness I note that Dragon Age Inquisition has opted to move away from the user programmed AI "Tactics" of its predecessors.  The original Dragon age introduced an extremely innovative system called "Tactics" which allowed players to programme the AI of their party members. I do actually mean programme. This wildly ambitious system had full blown decision and flow control structures.   You could programme in a wide array of behaviours such as "Attack Alastairs target and if that target has heavy armour  use Shatter Armour" or "If any character has less than 10% health then cast a healing spell" or "Freeze a target with spell 1 and then cast a rock to shatter them with spell 2".  It was a deep and sophisticated system that encouraged players to experiment.  Dragon Age II refined the system further but the latest episode "Inquisition" has abandoned it  and instead offers a few very limited options for tw

Nostalgia Lane: Interplay Classics on sale over at GOG

Huge nostalgia rush caused by the Interplay sale over at gog.com . Descent, Freespace 2 and Sacrifice remain among my favourite games of all time. For some reason great games of that era had a greater impact on me than any modern game. Even though modern games are far more advanced and better in almost every way games of that era were breaking new ground. Those classic games were doing things that had never been done before and it was just awesome. I still