Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Minor Fix in GSIV

I have had this glaesine orb for years. For the longest time, it didn't work.

LOOK:
The orb is shaped of pure midnight blue glaes, crafted into a perfect orb.  It hangs from a delicate silver chain affixed with a tiny moon-shaped mithril pin.

Tiny shimmering crystals hover inside the orb, pulsating slightly with the light of the stars.  Currently they form the shape of the
constellation of The Unicorn.

Barely visible on the glaesine surface of the orb, some words have been etched in minute script around its circumference.

405:
You gesture at a shimmering glaesine orb.

The orb vibrates gently.  A brief vision of a glittering implosion in a darkened void fills your mind.  Brightly glowing spheres are flung outward from the center of the implosion, hurtling through the
darkness as they yet bring illumination to the void.

READ:
Minute but elegant script is barely visible as it encircles your glaesine orb...

"Frae Naira vers Deiam, Jae esais bevre Tua ae te Draekeche."
"From Dusk til Dawn, I stand between thee and the darkness."
                                      - from the journals of
                                        Linsandrych Illistim
                                        circa -49,080
EXHALE:
A faint foggy mist forms over the surface of the orb then slowly fades away.

TILT:
You tilt your glaesine orb side to side, making the light play off it.

PET: 
You thumb the glaesine orb in your hand.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chromebook + Linux + Simutronics Wizard

Using the Simutronics Wizard is preferable to the default web client. On a Chromebook, you must install some form of linux to install the Wizard and then install Wine and WineTricks.

Installing Linux on a Chromebook is easy. How to Geek has a great install guide for linux and crouton. This guide has a couple of options, I suggest xfce as a solid OS for your Chromebook. I mention this because I am using Ubuntu and Unity, which is less optimal. This instructions will work for many types of linux, so use whatever your heart desires.

Once you have linux install go ahead and use chrosh to open it up. Your commands are: "shell" and "sudo startunity", if you have Ubuntu Unity or "sudo startxfce4" for xfce. If you have another flavor, your sudo start command will be different.

If you are using Ubuntu, sometimes the Software Center is broken when first launched. Update it by typing into the terminal: "sudo apt-get update software-center". Once this step is complete, open it and install WineTricks. This will install a basic Internet Explorer. You can reach that directory by going to: home/chrome/.wine/dosdevices/program files (x86)/ or simply searching for iexplore.exe.

For some reason, the iexplorer.exe will not download the file, but keep it open in the background for later. Open your linux web browser and go to www.play.net/software/.


Next download the Game Entry Client. This will get a program called sg32inst.exe.

Back up in the browser and do the same for the Game Launcher. This file is called InchInst.exe.

Once you have these files, open sg32inst.exe and InchInst.exe. They should open directly from your browser and run in Wine. You will end up with the Simutronics Game Entry tool in Program Files under the C:\ drive. Open it and log in.
 Next, select a game.
 Select a character AND choose your client. Your options are Stormfront or Wizard. I picked the Wizard. It will download it for you and install it into your Program Files (x86). The same for Stormfront.
 Hit play and you are in. For whatever reason, there is no sound.
Enjoy!

(If you have any problems, let me know in the comments and I will try to work it out.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Gemstone IV and The Wizard

This week, I will be reviewing the Simutronics Wizard for Mac and PC. The Wizard is the client for most Simutronics' games, I will be focusing on Gemstone IV, but this could apply to any game supported by the Wizard.

My goals are:
Install Wizard on Mac OS 9.
Install Wizard on Chromebook.
Install Wizard on Windows.
Getting the most out of a Mac OS 9 install using other software.

Bonus points if I cover:
Telnetting into the game.
Cover Stormfront for Windows and/or Linux.
Cover other MUD software for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, OS X and Chromebook.

Tall order...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Space Marines (Continued)

I found a few Space Marines weeks ago. I keep finding just enough parts to build a couple more. These three are mostly painted. I thought I would try a little red highlight on the figures to switch it up.

(Obvious, I have never played Warhammer 40K.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Amarillo Design Bureau Freighters, Kitbashed

Starfleet Battles is an intensely detailed and competitive game. For the longest time, how ADB designed ships was a secret. A few years ago, the team took a shot at rules to modify ships. The rules were written, but then abandoned by the authors. The general problem was Starfleet Battles ships have a power curve, meaning the ships should have limitations and abilities based on speed. It is easy to modify a ship to reduce or eliminate a limitation.

The nice thing about ADB is they have a rich history of two-way player support. They post rules for players to try before launching a product. Very often those products are loaded with player created content.

ADB correctly assessed that modification was not good for the product line, but then posted it for player's home campaigns. Personally, I like to use it for freighters. Freighters have a long life and well, they are often used ships with odd histories. They also don't fight very well, so modifying one doesn't unbalance things too much.

The freighter above has an extra sensor box, hence the large antenna. As a backstory, the ship was modified by Starfleet and then they realized the hull itself caused sensor performance problems. That and the antenna took up cargo space defeating the purpose of the ship in two different ways. It also causes a strange shimmy when accelerating and a terribly annoying whistle in the comms.


This ship is modded to have two extra hull boxes. In game terms, the extra boxes gives the ship more survivable without really giving it any real combat edge.

The backstory behind this modification is grandma and granddad promised to give a grandson their ship to carry on the family freight business. The problem was, the family business wasn't very profitable, so granddad and grandma built a retirement module on the ship before signing over the title. Worse, grandma and granddad don't talk much any more, so everything is rather awkward.

The S3 rules for Starfleet Battles are very comprehensive and nice for the friendly game but really very terrible for a fair game. However, if you kitbash ships, they are a handy reference of what is technically possible via the rules.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Amarillo Design Bureau's Starfleet Battles Freighters #MiniatureMonday

(Updated based on the ADB Facebook page. Go ahead and like them.)

Amarillo Design Bureau does several series of ships for Starfleet Battles, 2400 and 2500 series. The major difference between the two series is scale, however general ships like these freighters are the same size between these two series. Backward compatible if you like. :)

Once or twice a year ADB packages up all of the ships with defects or flaws that makes them generally unsalable and sells them by the pound.

I didn't mean to post about the scrapyard ships, but why not? Its a cool and cheap way to get into kitbashing and SFB.

These two ships were painted with Vallejo paints. The white piece holding the ship is a piece of soapstone with an arc cut into it to cradle the ships for painting.



In my next post, I will show a couple of freighters that I modified. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quit and win while you are ahead

Ah, Fixit.com, you saved the day once again. Our PlayStation 4 was overheating and the warranty was long gone, so into the case I went with a Fixit.com manual.

But Fixit.com can be dangerous. Sometimes, a little foresight can save you a lot of headaches.

Item one, my fan was not making any notes.
Item two, I have a can of air that didn't make a bit of different from outside the case.
Item three, I wasn't sure it was the fan.
Item four, I didn't have a replacement fan.


After dealing with the annoying security screws, I was fed up. I was looking at a 23 step guide and wondering what I would do if it wasn't dust. The image above was the point where I was about to give up. And then I noticed the solution right in front of my face. 

This is step five from Fixit.com. I can see the fan. If my can of air was going to work, this is the point where I needed to try. I could disassembled the whole thing to take the fan out, but I had been wrestling with screws and dust dobermans already. Time to quit. 

One blast of air filled the room with dust. I was on to something. While I was doing this, I sent the kids over to clean up our PlayStation 4's cage. Vacuuming, dusting, putting all those discs away would help our little PS4 in the long run. I didn't even reassemble it, once the area was clean, I plugged it in and tried it. And it worked. After 20 minutes, I was convinced I had the problem beat. 

I had the kids dust off the TV and collect up cable while I put the PS4 back together. And we are all happy again. 

Fixit.com is wonderful, the handman's go to textbook. However, just because it can be done doesn't mean you should actually do everything. Sometimes, a little forethought is needed to use what tools you have correctly and responsibly. 

Yet again, thank you Fixit.com for your wonderful guides.