CenoLAN – The Saga begins!

And so, another trip around the sun, and a birthday LAN for me.

This first day is a fairly quiet affair, with four of us so far.

Up until recently we’ve been playing Hexen 2 – Portal of Praevus.
My housemate, Pendragon, has been uttering sounds of extreme glee as he butchers furniture and other forms of wood products. I have a feeling he’s unleashing years of woodworking fury.
My beardymate Will, well he drowned in the toilet. He did this after I asked if he’d like to jump in the toilet.
Gyix has meanwhile been trying to kill the rest of us.
They’re all doing horrible things with sheep.

More will be posted as more games happen, but soon the pizza of day one will arrive.

*Edit 1*
Well we attempted a few things after pizza and garlic bread.
First was Blood, which launched successfully, however I forgot to turn on the monsters and we turned it in a Bloodbath.
We tried SWP for Shadow Warrior, but due to a combination of a firewall, and me dying, the game kinda died.
Duke 3d using eduke, well two of the four launched successfully.

*Edit 2*
Day 2 arrived, a bunch of my friends turned up like Wolfmother, tOrN, Sorrowborn.
Added to this was Pendragon’s best mate, Kaput.
All in all 8 of us, the perfect number that I’d aimed at.

A few things were tried, like me working to get a Doomsday server launching for shenanigans, which of course failed as the damned thing wouldn’t launch, and for some crazy reason the creator doesn’t want to use Listen servers.
So I abandoned it.

Brutal Doom 64, though, was surprisingly easy through the use of Doomseeker.
We all managed to get in there and die a lot of times.

Food was ordered, Dominos for day 2 as Pizza hut was day 1.
I acquired some chicken orb type things, they were delicious.

We tried out a project we called DTA, I think it was Dawn of Tiberium, but well it didn’t scale nicely, and the T100 really didn’t like it.
Also, it’s probably problematic when I spawn with nuclear silos and an AI helper who wants to take my units for a ride.

An attempt was made for Quake using UQE, problem being that setting up a listen server for 5+ players just wasn’t easy. It’s 4 out of the box, but you want more you need to command line it.

Eventually we jumped back over to Blood, in episode 6, and watched the friendly fire begin, we even managed to get past the aqueduct level with minimal casualties (and by minimal I mean mostly accidents).

As the evening wore on, and the consumption of Dick ended, tOrN and Wolfmother headed off back over to the dark side of the city (it’s a strange country over there, it’s like there are no trees and no civilisation beyond broadband internet).
The Manager (beardymate Will) and I settled down to some green apple vodka.

Day 3, remaining was pretty much Sorrowborn, Pendragon and myself.
It was much more relaxed, some food, some shopping at a surprisingly rare EB sale, and some watching of anime and stuff.

A good end to a good weekend.

10/10, would Doom again.

Many LANs make light work.

About time I got around to posting something new from the aardvark front.

It’s been a pretty busy past month in a crazy way as I elected to join some friends on part of their House of Doge LANsploration Adventure.

To begin with, last month we had eLeague hosted up in Sydney, where a whole group of us Melbournites travelled up, some by plane, others such as myself by car in a convoy.
Didn’t really know what to expect, I just knew there was no way I was going to realistically transport my desktop machine (which could in many ways have been used as a desk itself, or a seat, or even a coffee table if I drank coffee, what I’m saying is it was big.)
So I borrowed a gaming laptop from my good friend tOrN and along I went.
The main thing I did while there was play Paragon against the AI, watching the Nvidia drivers on the Venom constantly crap themselves, and the foliage flicker like crazy. Finding humans is difficult when they need to pay money to get in to early access.
I also jumped in a deathmatch of the new Unreal Tournament, where I ran around trying to kill people with the Impact Hammer. Good times.

After we got home I had a bit of time to myself doing next to nothing.

The start of this month was of course LANslide.
A much shorter journey was involved.
I’m certain I played games that weekend, and I know there was cake, prizes being launched at head-height, and doughnut shenanigans.
There was of course also the Doom closed beta, which Tofuboi and myself decided to take for a spin. I’m apparently not terrible when running at 800+ms latency.
This  was also the weekend where Babymetal’s Metal Resistance was released, and the Telstra unmetered data Sunday occured (I only acquired something like 63gig of Steam and Epic games.)

Last weekend a considerable number of Melbournites made a trip down to Traralgon for ROFL LAN.
This event was very much like the LANs of 10+ years ago, a whole group of stress-free people in a hall playing games, no eSports, 7 Bishies, 30+ parmas and 1 fish and chips, crazy parking, and one person ending up contained within something they shouldn’t.
Seriously this was the type of event that has the soul of the events of old.
These days there’s generally too much focus on the big competitions, big prizes, big sponsors. ROFL didn’t involve any of those.

Of course after I got home from ROFL I took it upon myself to transfer my gaming PC back in to my Air540 case, and my productivity machine slash fileserver in to my behemoth.
After lugging something bigger than many people I know around, I finally took the smart option. I have many injuries from the transition between cases.

This coming weekend I finish my journey on the LANsploration adventure with RespawnLAN.
It’s the time of the Doom open beta, and I have no idea what else I’ll be doing.
There are many games I’d like to play with others, but unless I can bludgeon people in to submission I don’t see them happening.

There are many more events coming up like RF LAN, LAN of the Damned, and so on. I just don’t see myself making the journey west of Melbourne to get to them.

I suppose I’ll end up focusing my attentions on my planned upcoming Beast: the Primordial chronicle, where I’m sure my players will find some way to set the environment and themselves on fire.
The goal of course will be taking it to LARP scale.


Teamwork – In Space Things Will Explode.

So tonight a group of friends got together for a project called Horrible Stream to play a game called Artemis.

This is a star-ship bridge simulator game, we had 10+ people in one room attempting to work together.

Originally we considered running two ships, but the problem was both competing crews were in the same room, so we abandoned that idea.

Under the command of Captain Wolfmother, the S.S. Sandox (LoveULongTime, ‘sWarhead, ‘sThing, ‘sShongalong etc,) attempted to plumb the depths of space and generally not explode.
We did have a successful mission, we also had a failed mission where Weapons told me the Helm to fly in to one of our own mines.

Things changed up a lot, I stuck with Helm the entire time, and we had some incidents with Comms Officer Wolfmother (after things changed) effectively declaring war, and Weapons launching a trio of nuclear warheads at a cluster of 7 newly aggravated warships.

Artemis, gonna be good in future as everyone enjoyed themselves.

Respawn 32, the voyage to Candy Mountain

So in just under 8 hours, the doors to Respawn LAN‘s 32nd main event open.

There’s still a chance to register for fun and games.

For example, there is a candy filled pinata, there are jars of candy I assume for prizes and everything.

We’ve managed to update the media tech side of things this event, and the event stream will be more awesome than ever, with the ability for tweets to the tag #RespawnV32 to turn up at our behest.

425 odd players in one place, we’re on the way towards a petabyte of data in one place and a massive steamcache.

Candy LAN – Can you stomach the gameplay?

So, due to a clerical error, registrations for Respawn LAN’s 32 big event opened up early.

If you don’t know what Respawn is, it’s a regular LAN gaming event held up at Latrobe Bundoora.
In this case it’s held on the 27th and 28th of September, for some it’s Grand Final weekend, but for everyone else it’s a prime opportunity to get together with 424 other fellow gamers.

Each event has a nominated theme, it’s varied from things such as Winter WonderLAN (last time) to 8bit (ages back) with custom trophies and some competitions to match.

This event is of course themed around candy, so I’m fully expecting to see the trophies be unicorns on bridges.

So if you’re not busy on the final weekend of September, are a gamer, feel like being part of an industrial (Zardoz Approved) gigabit network, or just like candy, sign up for CandyLAN here.

If you want to find me, just ask for Beeslol up the front.

All Praise GabeN: The beginning of a journey.

So anyway, last year or so, Valve announced their Steambox powered by SteamOS, and I thought that it’d be pretty sweet if I could be one of those lucky people to be chosen to try out a prototype unit (out of the many thousands who also applied).

Valve did the fun thing of releasing the beta of SteamOS in to the wilds for people to try out, mess with and generally try to break.
Naturally I grabbed it with the goal to test it out in a virtual machine.

With the help of the internet I managed to get it installed in Virtual Box and got to play around with it without hardware acceleration, I found it pretty neat.

I then of course blew away the windows 8.1 test install and then installed a dual-boot of SteamOS on my main gaming rig (Stitch).
The big thing that kept me from spending more time with it was that I didn’t have audio available due to using DVI output and not having a receiver or anything available to handle it.
I acquired a game-pad at this stage.

I was at Respawn LAN back this most recent January, lanning there like I have for the better part of 14 years, they have a tendency to do random draws for door-prizes from their sponsors.
Of course I’ve never won anything at that venue in the entire time I’ve been there, and tend to joke about the name selection code being incredibly biased as the same people tend to keep winning stuff.
So when a G1.Sniper motherboard from Gigabyte was held up to be the next prize I made a comment that I could use it to build a SteamBox.

GabeN heard me, my name was called, much to my surprise.

I’ve now finished the initial construction of the SteamBox codenamed OneWood.

Sadly the journey is far from over as it’s been impossible for me to produce audio output via HDMI, the Recon3d (from Creative) support is absolutely non-existent, and despite managing to get output from a USB DAC I haven’t managed to get that sorted in relation to the TV.

The journey will continue, I will be gaming fully in the loungeroom without so much as a sign of microsoft, sony or nintendo, I will be on the bleeding edge.

Praise GabeN!


Which Steam will reign supreme?

So this is about digital content delivery services.

So we’ve got Steam from Valve.
Back in the beginning it wasn’t very good, but over time you can see they improved by leaps and bounds.
I can log on, I can buy games and now software, I can then install them, and then play them all through the same interface.
Basically you click buy, pay for it, then click install, more or less straight forward and simple.

Steam works.
My massive games collection that I will never even play more than maybe 5% of (seems about right when you shift in to the scale of hundreds of games) may bias me slightly here, but it works.

Games 4 Windows Live, well we might as well just discard that from the equation, now that Microsoft are dropping it.
It’s main purpose, it seems, was DLC management.
That’s all it really did other than mess with your gaming experience when you lost internet.
So it’s gone.

Of course I’m going to have to mention EA’s Origin.
Brought about as they wanted to claim all of the DLC money without giving any to anyone else, it turned in to the one and only source for EA based games.
Even if you had an older account you had to switch over to Origin.
I did spend some time reading though the End User License Agreement some time back, and quite simply I didn’t agree with it.
It’s trying to provide the same service as a superior product (Steam) while at the same time restricting it more or less to one publisher (EA) and it doesn’t have my massive catalogue of games to play.
So, while it’s required for EA games, I shall not be buying them, as I quite simply do not want or need it.

Stardock had their own rival some time back called Impulse, but now that’s owned by Gamestop.
It wasn’t bad, you could install your games, you could download updates, you could even back up specific versions of the games to be able to play.
It was nice and simple, and it worked.
But now that Gamestop have it, content like Demigod shifted over to Steam (I should really figure out where I go in relation to playing my physical copy.)

And now of course, the one I’m really starting to dislike is Uplay.

I first got introduced to Uplay (from Ubisoft) with Might And Magic Heroes VI (Because Heroes of Might and Magic VI was so 90s).
I bought the game through Steam, I created my Uplay account with the game, I could log in with the game, everything was fine.

My second Uplay title is Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist (because you need to make game names that long to be gritty and authentic).
I acquired this one with my brand new Gigabyte Geforce 760 OC 4gig as a promotional item.
Or rather I acquired a redemption code.
From there I went to the code redemption page on and redeemed it (along with giving them my name and other such things) which gave me another completely different code.
From there I needed to go to the Uplay webstore, add the game to my cart, redeem the second code to drop the price to zero and buy it.
This attached it to my account.
I then needed to download the Uplay software.

I’m not finished yet, there’s still more to this which no doubt make Origin look unified.

Install the software, which isn’t small in size, and then log in.
Click the download button for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist (because I’m going to keep saying the entire name, and maybe even next time put in the trademark symbols just to make it longer) which leads me to something like a 17gig download.
You’d expect that would be all I’d need to do in order to play it after downloading it over two nights while sleeping, but no there’s still more.
So after downloading it, I need to install it, which acted like your typical software installation.
I think that it’s finally over and I click play.

Downloading new update, currently at this moment at 57% for not quite a gigabyte of data.

Suffice to say at this moment I really don’t like Uplay because there are too many stages involved in actually playing games (60%).

So I can quite happily say that I like Steam the best (61%).

Maybe I’ll read a book for awhile (63%), look at some funny cat pictures on the internet (64%) or troll some people for the lulz (65%).

Until next time.

Gaming with boobs: A snapshot.

TJ03Born in 1985, Talitha Kalago lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She loves reading, video games, documentaries, horror movies and vegetable patches. She lives with an alarming collection of previously abandoned or unwanted animals that include dogs, cats, birds and snakes. She loves aquascaping and dedicates too much time to her numerous aquariums and aquatic invertebrates.

There is a 23% chance she is watching a horror movie as you read this.

Her first young adult novel, Lifesphere Inc: Acquisition was released on the 20th of May. You can find out more about Talitha at her website:

Gaming with boobs: A snapshot.

Being a female in an MMO is somewhat like being a female and walking into a bar. Inhibitions are low, self entitlement is high and almost everyone is drinking. If there are mostly men, the few females are going to get a lot of attention, however if there is a healthy mix, the attention is a bit more spread out.

How it plays out from there depends very much on the manager and, to a lesser extent, the other patrons. Someone is going to misbehave–if the manager tells them to GTFO, then everyone gets the idea that sort of thing isn’t going to be tolerated. If no one does anything, the behaviour will get worse and worse. Any female present will be bullied, harassed, threatened and worse.

Guys tend to fall into three categories with this behaviour. Firstly, there are good guys who know it is never appropriate to harass women, online or off. Secondly, there are assholes that will ALWAYS harass women, online and off. Thirdly, there are sheep. Sheep always think they are good guys, but the truth is, if everyone else is doing something, they will too. They believe there are contexts where it is appropriate and assume this is one of them.

Don’t be an asshole or a sheep.

I choose to avoid games and guilds were guys are assholes. However it’s really, really hard to avoid games and guilds where some of the other women don’t annoy the living fuck out of me.

Women do have a raw deal when it comes to gaming. We are treated like shit by a majority of male players. However to compensate for this (or because they are trying to win their approval) many guild leaders tolerate complete bullshit from female players.

We’re all familiar with the attention seeking bimbo gamer. She talks about her shopping in guild chat and says ‘but I’m a girl’ every freaking hour, just in case someone forgot. She has to make jokes about being female in every conversation, as if it’s impossible for women to talk about amour stats without saying something like: ‘Well, we girls NEED extra vitality! Teehee!’

I have news for you, guys. Those girls annoy sensible girls a lot more than they annoy you. We’re not trying to get in their pants or see their titties. We don’t care about their goddamn shoes either.

When I’m considering a guild, I find out about the officers. At least one of them has to be female and she has to prove she’s not an attention seeking airhead. Why? Because any battle hardened female officer worth her salt will make a point of weeding out the annoying girls. (Also, awesome female officers draw the attention from me and I know I’ll be flirted with less.)

So would you like some tips on dealing with females in game?

  1. Don’t make assumptions about people. Everyone is an individual. If you don’t want someone assuming you are a fat, pimply, basement dwelling wanker who hates women, don’t assume all female gamers are ‘the same’.
  2. Have conversations with us. Real ones. Don’t make everything innuendo and flirting. It’s boring. You’re attracted to female gamers. WE KNOW.
  3. If some bitch is talking about her shoes, say: “We don’t care about your shoes.” Don’t name call, don’t belittle. Someone who wants in her pants more than you will probably say they do care, tell them to talk about it in PM. Then he’ll be stuck talking to her about shoes for an hour and we’ll ALL have our revenge.
  4. If you are a guild officer, don’t tolerate sexism. Of any kind. That includes ‘women in the kitchen’ jokes. That kind of stuff is hateful and hostile. It about the same as saying: ‘Niggers are all slaves.’ It boggles my mind when people think it’s ‘just a joke’.
  5. If one of the girls in your guild is awesome and you really like her, talk to her about mutual interests and develop a rapport, rather than sending gifts. I’d much rather have intelligent conversations about Joe Abercrombie’s books than get free stuff. Any girl who is asking for gifts probably isn’t really interested in you.

I hope you found this informative. Feel free to visit my website (  and drop me and email.

Lifesphere Inc: Acquisition

Read it, read it now!

Talitha’s first young adult novel Lifesphere Inc: Acquisition tells the story of Eli, a thirteen year old orphan living in an immense garbage tip that rings the city.
He sells trash to survive, while on the Topside, citizens live in hedonistic luxury.
Eli dreams of obtaining citizenship by becoming a handler; bonded with a bio-organic life form called a meka.
On the Topside, handlers are celebrities, pitting their skills in televised meka battles. But new legislation will only allow those with citizenship to become handlers and Eli can’t raise the money to buy a meka before the law is passed.
A grifter named Kalex offers Eli a trade: meka of his own, if he competes in an illegal fight to the death.

You can find it FREE on Amazon and Smashwords.

Free Steam Weekends, or how to waste my bandwidth for no obvious advantage.

So, some of you may be aware that from time to time Steam runs Free Weekends for some of it’s catalogue where you can tell it to download the game, and over a period of a few days play it.

This latest one of course has proven to me that it’s really a waste of my bandwidth.

First up, the weekends normally start on the thursday or friday or something (depends where you are, for me it’s friday) and you then get the ability to install the game.

From there it download the game, which these days can be quite significant, this one for example is around 10Gig in size.
Your connection quality plays in to this, and we’re not all fortunate enough to have 1Gb connections.
So it can often take quite awhile, especially if you’ve utilised Steam’s rate limiting function (in my case to 60KB/s).

After all this you get to play it.

For me it’s now sunday, I’ve finished acquiring the game, and I am now able to play it.

There’s a patch, more downloading.

It’s done, I can now click the play button and play, giving me maybe a day or two at most with which I can play.

The reason I consider it to be a waste of bandwidth in my case is I already own a game account.
It was already installed, it was already up to date.

The way it was originally released with steam was the service provided the launcher only, from there the launcher would download the rest of the content (all 10gig of it.)

I have now successfully re-downloaded the entire game when I didn’t need to in the first place.

Well done Steam.

And now I’m going to go and play something else instead after all this.

AmK out.

The System Protection Saga, it’s still really annoying.

So awhile back I posted about the annoyance of the current state of copy and account protection for games and my small Blizzard problem.

I guess it’s time for a bit of an update.

It seems I never get to calling whenever they’re open, because I have no idea what time of day or night that is for me here in eastern australia.
7am to 8pm may seem like a big time window. But really it’s not when dealing with people on the other side of the globe.

Just then I did some conversion work, and I have a wonderful time slot of 2am to 3pm according to their message.
I just called, it’s not even 2pm here, they’re closed.

So that’s off the board for another 12 hours I guess.

I managed to locate my warcraft 3 and frozen throne cases complete with cd keys on them.
So I figure why not put those in to the system, you know to verify who I am.

Just like my Starcraft 2 key, these ones also don’t appear to be in the system.

Wow, this is a brilliant idea.
Sure I can play warcraft 3 no problems, and even diablo 2 (I don’t install, I just migrate the directory between machines).
However Starcraft 2, the Heart of the Swarm Beta, and Diablo 3 are all off the books, all because I moved house and their automated system refuses to recognise product keys that have been registered with my account.

I have the games, I have the boxes, I have the jewel cases and the discs, manuals, the works, but I might as well not.

Now I compare this with the wonderful experience I’ve had with dealing with arenanet support trying to get my password for my guildwars account reset.
All the information asks you to submit a ticket on their system which uses a different login system, easily done.
They then ask you for a bunch of information like game keys and other stuff they can compare to your account.
And well it turns out I didn’t need that after all, since I just did it more or less instantly through the ncsoft account site, which had questions I could actually remember (seriously, how the hell am I supposed to know what name I would choose if I could change my name? what year did I decide that answer?)

So now I’m still unable to touch my account, yet in a fraction of the time and annoyance I’ve reclaimed my ncsoft account.
So now I’m working with the ncsoft tech guys to figure out how to get guild wars working with windows 7 using directx 9.
They’re actually a pleasure to communicate with.

So to break it down, ncsoft good, blizzard bad.

And to prove how I feel, the following picture 😀

Gotta catch them all.

So I herd you like guildwarz