Category Archives: Games

Photos from Helios XM Anomaly in Dublin

Last weekend I took the train to Dublin to take part in my first Ingress event, the Helio XM Anomaly. All I knew was that both Resistance and Enlightened would be there fighting over portals but not much more than that.

Fights for portals were intense 15 minute battles. It must have made a strange sight watching two groups of adults bent over their phones on a street or park tapping at their phones. The only thing heard were the frequent shouts calling “DEPLOY”, “MOD” or “CUBE” as we shouted what we were doing. Who won? The Resistance of course!

The next (closest) Helios event is in Manchester but if there’s another one in Ireland I’d like to go if I can. Good fun, lots of walking.

Almost 23,000 steps around Dublin

I watched the World Cup too

Watching the World

Many might be surprised to hear that I watched the World Cup. You see, Bob Kerman left his cup of tea in his command module because in the vacuum of space the tea would boil off. Unfortunately for Bob his command module isn’t pressurized to sea level pressure so his cup of tea is taking an age to brew. You know you can’t get a decent cup of tea high up a mountain?

While waiting he decides to go on EVA and watch the World. His cup will wait.

#WorldCup

Turn your Android phone into a steering wheel

I was looking on Amazon over the weekend for PC steering wheels when I remembered that my phone could do the job! Install JD SimWheel from the Play Store, grab the device driver and server from here for your PC and you’re 90% of the way there.

It might take a few minutes tinkering with the settings in-game but Euro Truck Simulator 2 works fine with it. I still can’t reverse properly but now I can take corners smoothly and two of the buttons on-screen are already configured for left and right indicators!

Here’s a howto video and demonstration using the game GRID created by user MyHD2AndOthers on Youtube.

Next on my todo list is using a WiiMote as a steering wheel as I already have the steering wheel adaptor for it and it should be more comfortable than holding a phone!

Kerbal Space Program: The Minmus Space Station

Just over a year ago I docked two space ships in Kerbal Space Program for the first time. It was extremely difficult. The first time you do it it’s like balancing a full cup of tea on a 1m pole while cycling down the road on a unicycle. With the pole standing on your nose. It’s something I’ve mostly shied away from as it’s so frustrating.

However, after watching this video I tried again. Balancing my craft is made a lot easier by “hacking gravity” to test that the RCS ports are in the right place, setting the camera mode to chase, and the docking alignment indicator makes final approach more manageable. It’s still not easy but it’s not impossible. So I went a little overboard..

Space Station around Minmus

This is my space station around Minmus. It has a portable laboratory for processing science experiments brought up from the moon’s surface and plenty of fuel for refuelling. It’s also made up of space craft from 3 different launches all docked together. The capsule on the surface side of the station can be detached and can fly back to Kerbin with any valuable science. As you can see, Kenlorf Kerman is overjoyed with his new space station. He better be, he might be there for quite a while!

OK, so there aren’t any spare docking ports. I’ll, umm, have to send those up on the next launch. It’s lucky that Jeb is a competent pilot and can manoeuvre his craft around with ease when a new section arrives. Nothing scares him.

Jebediah and Kenlorf

Update! The space station has progressed. It’s longer after I sent up more rocket fuel and RCS monopropellant. My lander has been down to Minmus twice collecting science and I sent one command module back to Kerbin brimming with science. I then added a new section to the space station with 4 new docking ports. Getting them there was hair raising. I nearly ran out of RCS propellant. Gulp.

Minmus Space Station

C64 Easter Egg in Saints Row 4

C64 screen

I noticed a Commodore 64 screen last night in the game Saints Row 4. The keyboard is definitely not a C64 one, neither is it a C128 but I’ll forgive that oversight.

There are various retro parts of the game, like a 2D side scrolling beat-em-up to rescue one of the characters but this was in a fairly mundane mission where you have to shoot lights, that’s all I’ll say. Watch out for it!

How well does Steam In-Home Streaming work?

Steam In-Home Streaming allows you to stream a game from one machine on a network to another. The idea being that your powerful desktop machine will run the game and stream the picture and perform input/output through a weak computer attached to a living room TV.

One of the problems it faces is wifi latency. Most homes won’t have ethernet cables built into the walls. I only know two people who are so prepared so the rest of us will have to use wifi. I’ve used power plug networking in the past but the resulting broadcast of radio signals makes me fearful for the sanity of any long wave radio fan or CB radio junkie in the locality.

The video above demonstrates a lot of latency and stuttering when Metro Last Light was played over a wifi network. However, ethernet worked fine with only slight lag. Here’s a thread on the Streaming Group forum looking for feedback and this thread that should be a good read.

Initially I was more excited about streaming than family sharing but the latter works just fine, and even works when the (slave) computer is offline (so the master computer can be used to play games too). I even went and bought a HDMI cable just so I can hook the laptop up to the tv. Much simpler than fiddling with streaming but then I might not be the target audience am I?