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.


It is time to for Duck season, and the Melbourne internet is invited!

So I’m totally incredibly slack about posting, as people will know.
I really should have posted about this earlier, because for some strange reason it seems people have duck blindness, and this simply will not do.

This coming weekend (the 26th through to 27th of September) there’s a very special event hosted by Respawn LAN, the 34th of the main weekends, DUCK SEASON!

I think I shall need to repeat that again so people get what it is.


Now for people who don’t know what Respawn LAN is, picture a large university hall, filled with rows of long tables (I guestimate three metres), on which each contains two computers+monitors, both of which are plugged in to a fast network switch (a box thing that lots of cables plug in to with lots of blinking lights).
Multiply that by hundreds of tables with attending people and you start to get an idea.

Night Time LANtheon

Take that, give it some sort of an event theme, fill it with lots of awesome people, get them to play games and have a great time.

The theme this event is Ducks, with duck prizes, duck competitions, duck hunting, possibly duck costumes, and Zardoz squeeing out over his favourite animal (he really loves ducks).

I shall be there. I might even have some fairyfloss on account of I can’t get any aardvarks, though I may have time to make something to stick to my monitor (no promises or anything.)

Anyway, last but not least, the link for the event which you should go and sign up to, if you have some kind of a PC (be it windows, mac, or linux), feel like traveling to the northern suburbs, have nothing else to do, like ducks, and want to have fun.

Don’t let your dreams be dreams.
Click this link!

Quack quack!

Like the fire of the gods, Nvidia enlightened the LANtheon

So anyway, last post was prior to the Respawn LANtheon special event, this one is a couple of weeks later.

This one was our first in a new location with all the relevant hurdles involved, from space allocation to requiring a generator.

Now unlike usual, my regular gopher duties were unneeded due to the provided AV system, so I got to spend time playing games and enjoying myself as pretty much a pure player.

Nvidia came along as a massive sponsor, not only providing a great selection of their 900 series cards, but also making a presentation involving all the new improvements in the current GPU range with a reverse Q&A session.

Competition-wise we had a number of new things such as Next Car Game: Wreckfest, and an anniversary introduction of Smite in a 3v3 Joust format.

I played Smite with a team comprising MajorMarris and PlasmaVoid. We organised, had Curse Voice running, and after one easy, one brutal, and one stalemated match, the then named Team Respawn gained third place.

A wildcard contender appeared for solving draws, and even being used for a comp for a Smite Ultimate God Pack.
This contender is named PNOG.
Think of it like single player pong, but where the rules constantly shift and you’re fighting against the machine.
We had an event record of 69PNOGs.
PNOG being the brainchild of my friend Wolfmother, which can be purchased for $0.88 over here.

And now just a few shots of the weekend.

LANtheon Green
Army of AssesNight Time LANtheon

Time is running out, but there’s still time for you!

So this weekend coming up, the 28th and 29th of March, is an ultra-special Respawn LANtheon event.

It’s half the usual size, but it’s even more exclusive than usual, currently sitting at 198 players of 212.

There are some new competitions not held previously, such as the awesome game Smite running in a 3v3 format (hopefully using Joust mode.)
Smite is a MOBA, the same type of game as DOTA, LOL and HON, but one with a difference, it’s a 3rd person over the shoulder realtime WASD control with mouselook.
It contains multiple pantheons of gods, from Greek, to Roman, to Aztec, to Chinese, to Indian and many more in a team vs team format.
Personally I prefer the hunter type and suck at melee (my favourite uses bees as a weapon of choice.)
There’s also Next Car Game: Wreckfest for those people who feel like racing and smashing up cars.
We’re talking crazy levels of car deformation type damage and physics, enough to satisfy even the safest of drivers base urges.

There’s also possibly Evolve, the 4 hunter vs 1 monster game from the creators of Left 4 Dead.

I’m fully expecting the Respawn LAN team to adapt to the new environment and challenges and bring us an amazing event.
We’re talking full gigabit network with serious planning for the lowest latency gaming possible on such a scale.

I’m going to be there, so should you.

Go to Respawn LAN and sign up while you still can.

Totes Amazeballs – or how my adventures in dual-booting my steambox with win10TP are failing.

So I’m sitting here in a room with a bunch of friends and good people, settling in for a good weekend.
Yet, I’m attempting to escalate my steambox to a full dual-boot.

What I did did previously was install SteamOS, then unplugged that drive and installed Win8.1 on the other.
Last weekend I totally mangled things, and the then win10 install was no longer viable (however I did manage to have steamos booting in nicely.)

This weekend I’m making the fresh attempt to get everything running. Firstly installing 10 on Drive0, and then SteamOS on Drive1.
Both are in place, however grub didn’t do anything with the boot manager.

This is what I’m choosing to do when not playing games, or waiting for other friends to turn up.

In the new year I’m intending to finally acquire a new SSD, from there I can do a fresh main system install, at which point I’ll probably be swapping motherboards between systems.
This is primarily as the g1Sniper, whilst nice, has sucky linux driver support, and thus is primarily wasted.
Alas I’ll most likely have to downgrade to a 5.1 setup, but what can you do.

The answer to my problems is obviously to praise GabeN, for I am 550 yards from the hole.


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.

Further adventures in the steamboxen.

So back in the first half of the year, as some of you may know, I built a Steambox, codenamed Project: One Wood.

Originally I’d planned to build something with a uITX formfactor or something equally small that could fit in a display unit.

That of course went out the window when I won a full ATX Motherboard at Respawn LAN  supplied by their wonderful sponsors over at Gigabyte.

Over the next couple of months I picked up components, where possible, from the various hardware sponsors, such as Corsair.
Then I stopped after finishing assembly at a LAN.

Since then I’ve been living with it hooked up to the TV, and honestly it’s got some real potential.

Sadly the number of gamepad capable games on linux is really disappointing, and I haven’t been able to stream games for use with the gamepad.
I practically turned it in to a Plex dedicated machine, which is amusing considering the grunt contained within the case.
The reason for that, well I use Plex on my main system, I use it on my nexus 7 and Galaxy SIII, and most recently on my brand new Asus t100. It quite simply does a better job than the PS3.
There’s also the fact I can control plex using any of those other devices.

I’ve done very little tinkering under the hood other than getting Plex running, as I want to see what Valve are going to do, and well I don’t want to break it.

Speaking of breaking, I managed to break Big Picture Mode a couple of times already, leading to it re-downloading Steam and reconfiguring it (the first was when I tested Sleep mode, and the most recent today was returning from the desktop).
Other than that and some initial kernel panicking after initial installation it’s been fairly solid.

So now, the steambox finally has a wireless keyboard/trackpad, I can finally play games from the comfort of a soft chair across the room.

Now I just need to wait for the steam controllers to be released and I should be set.

The future is looking good for games on linux, and a way to break out of the microsoft dominated PC gaming market.

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!