Daily Archives: July 13, 2012

Steam Summer Sale – Time For Damage Control

Oh, it is that time of temptation again.  It is the dread Summer Sale at Steam.

For 10 days Valve will tempt us with incredible discounts on a wide variety of game titles.

This will lead many of us to buy titles we might not otherwise consider… and, often enough in my case, games that I certainly should not have considered.

But the price… the games can be so cheap!  I have seen things marked down 80% or more off of retail.  For example, the first day’s featured deals.

But look at the mark downs!

This is how I ended up owning the entire PopCap library despite the fact that I really only wanted Peggle Nights.  And no, it was not cheaper to buy the whole library.  I was just swept up in the moment and 90% discount.

This year I am going to stick to things on my Steam wishlist.  That is a reasonably well vetted list of games I am actively interested in, though I do see a couple of games I left on it back when Valve had a contest that would win you the top 10 games on your wishlist, but only if you had at least 10 games.  I will have to drop those, as my wishlist is now big enough not to need padding.

And, on day one, right out of the gate, two items from my wishlist came up.

The first was Portal 2.  Having played through the original Portal at last, I put the sequel on my wish list.

Also popping up on day one was Harvest: Massive Encounter, a little game that looked interesting, but not quite interesting enough until it was marked down.  I put it there as park of my search to find more tower defense games, though honestly nothing has stacked up to Defense Grid: The Awakening so far.

Total cost for the pair, $7.49.

I haven’t had a chance to look at Portal 2 yet, as it was a sizable download.  But Harvest was small, so I was able to launch it almost right away.

It appears to be a mix of RTS and tower defense with a few game mode and level choices, but otherwise very simple in design.  It is kind of what I hoped Gratuitous Space and/or Tank Battles would more like. (Neither of those titles quite clicked with me.)

Anyway, worth the $2.50 it was list at.

Now what will Valve throw at me next?  And can I stick to my plan?

I am kind of hoping that Endless Space will make the cut for a discount, because I really need yet another game like that to distract me. (Isn’t the updated Civ V enough? No?)  I have seen a bit posted about it.  However, it just launched, so it might be too soon.

What is on your list for the Steam Summer Sale?

The Fall of Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot

Health Warning: If you are one of those people who gets angry reading about people doing stupid things, click on a link to another site or something quick, as gross and obvious stupidity follows and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for undoing the effects of your blood pressure medication or anything.

Do you ever have one of those moments when you’re about to do something stupid, and you know in your gut that you shouldn’t do it… but something else in your brain tells you to go ahead and do it anyway…. and you do it?

No?

Lucky you.

This happens to me every so often, and it is often accompanied by some sort of minor disaster.

In my youth, I let it talk me into doing things in real life.

  • Please put that Energizer Bunny init on all the office computers! Everybody will think it is hilarious! (It locked up all the machines for an hour when it was set off, with that pink bunny banging its drum across people’s screens the whole time, until we turned off all the computers at the same time.)
  • Push harder on that chip! Don’t worry about the pins, they will slide into the socket! (Except that pin on the end, which broke off when I tried to bend it back into shape.)
  • Screw it, just add more solder, that will get things done. (Behold the Gateway Arch rendered in the scale of a now dead motherboard!
  • You’re in a hurry, just take the daughter board off without unhooking that ribbon cable. It won’t rip or anything! (Ripped it, naturally.)
  • Go ahead, date a co-worker or a customer! That will never make the workplace awkward! (Can I setup my desk in the men’s room so I can hide in there permanently?)
  • Wait until the project meeting and tear apart the product managers totally unrealistic schedule right there in front of his boss and his boss’s boss. (Had an interview with his wife at another company a few years later. Being a team player came up a lot. I did not get that job.)
  • There is only an inch and a half of Ouzo left in the bottle, just finish it off! (I only know what people at that party told me later.)

That is what I call my dumb brain, though you might as easily equate it with the devil on my shoulder whisper in my ear.

As I have grown older, I have learned to listen to the other part of my brain, the part warning me not to do (or say) stupid things.  That is my smart brain.  It knows actions have consequences and can assess whether I want to pay the consequences pretty accurately.

So these days, in real life, dumb brain’s influence is limited to minor things, like ordering appetizers at restaurants where I know I probably wouldn’t be able to finish my entree if that were the only food I was allowed all day.

But in video games… well, what are the real consequences?  It is just a game, right?  Plus, sometimes dumb brain sends me off to do things that end up being a huge amount of fun.  Of course, sometimes I’m totally screwed.

I was back in Deklein for the night.  We had been given permission to go rat if we wanted.  That had been expressly forbidden since the deployment to Delve, and I wanted to rat to make up some of the ISK I spent buying ships and such in Delve.

I wasn’t running out of money or anything, but I do like to keep a pretty deep reserve in addition to the cash I am buying and selling with daily.  And I was edging down to that mental line that separates that from the reserves.  But a few anomalies would set that straight.

I clone jumped back to my home system, only to find a red in local.  No ratting for me.  I at least know better than that.  The intel channel then announced the presence of my red, which wasn’t a big help.

And I was hungry for a bit of ISK and I had just clone jumped across the galaxy and was stuck in Deklein for 24 hours until I could clone jump back.

This is where the part of my brain that wants to protect me told me to just log off and call it.  But I didn’t want the night to be a waste.

So I undocked, hit the safe POS, then hit the gate to the adjacent system, which is also a prime spot for ratting.

As I jumped into the next system, hanging in space not 10km from me was a red.  The overview said it was a Purifier.

My the smart part of my brain is telling me to either burn back to the gate and jump or to hit the safe POS in the system.  But the message is the same, avoid contact at all cost.

Dumb brain is in action though.  After a few seconds it matches up “Purifier” with “stealth bomber” and says, “It is a glass cannon! You can kill that, no problem!”

Smart brain is saying, “No! You suck at PvP!  You WILL find a way to screw this up!”

Dumb brain counters with, “There is only one red in system.  Come on, it will be easy!  Just light it up!”

Smart brain brings up the chart.

Still applies to me…

Dumb brain says, in that Kent Dorfman voice, “This is going to be great!” (Though usually it sounds more like Larry Kroger’s conscience.)

Smart brain, realizing my internal discourse had devolved into movie quotes at this point, starts to throw out, “It’s a trap!” but it is too late.  I’ve already broken cloak and started to lock up the Purifier, which is still just sitting there.

And, for a few seconds, it seems like things are going to work out.  I have the target painter on him.  My missiles are tearing him up pretty quickly.  The main worry in my mind at that moment is that he is just going to warp away.  All he has done is warp scramble me.  It is like he wants to hold me there or something.

Then, of course, the red from the other system jumps in.  It is a Gila, a faction cruiser.  He locks me up and starts tearing me up and I know already this is going to end badly.  The Purifier warps off just as somebody in the intel channel mentions that this new red is the alt of the first and he has just popped into the system.

Yes indeed, it was a trap.

Okay, I was at least smart enough to turn on hardeners and the shield booster, maybe I will live long enough to get help.  On a normal night, this system is alive with blues.  Tonight though, it seems like everybody has deployed to Delve and almost nobody has come back to rat.  I ask for help giving system in gate on the intel channel, which is not the right channel to use and which really only serves to broadcast my stupidity to the maximum number of people possible.

So I’ve got the ship in motion, I’m wondering if I can make it back to the gate, but then realize that the aggression timer is now on so I cannot get out that way, when I notice that I am already taking damage in armor.  I got there awfully quickly.  Locking up the Gila seems like a waste of time at that point, but it isn’t like I am doing anything else, so I give it a shot.

And then I am into hull and then sitting there in my pod, which also gets locked and destroyed, something that at least gets me back to Delve.  So long Tengu!

Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot in happier times

At about this point somebody responds to my call for help, but I tell them it is no longer required as I am dead.

Fortunately my alliance leader was there, the only other person in the system in which I got killed.  He didn’t know who I was before then. He certainly does now.  He was able to console me by telling to “grow a fucking brain” and to read the damn intel channel.  I’ll probably get a reprimand sent to my corp CEO for public display of stupidity.  Of course, my corp CEO only knows who I am because I was the guy bitching about wanting to make back some money ratting.

Clearly I am winning popularity contests all over space!

Just one of those days in EVE.

Fortunately, I can afford to replace the Tengu.  Frankly, if I got off my butt and sold some of the stuff I have cluttering hangers in high sec space, I could replace it a few times over.

No, the major cost of this was being stupid in public yet again.

I can at least serve as a warning to others I suppose.

It was all kind of like this, except the ship cost a lot more and theoretically I should know better.

Warned by CCP for Attempting to Cause Lag

I hate it when I come to the attention of the authorities.  Playing TorilMUD around some of the original administrators trained me to try to avoid such attention at all cost.

Yet somehow I managed it in EVE.  I got a warning note from CCP today for a EULA violation.  My first ever in any MMO.

Subject: Creating Lag      2012.07.13 00:54

From: GM Pyro
To: Wilhelm Arcturus

You have been reported for creating lag to gain an advantage. This is a EULA violation and will not be tolerated. Cease all such activity or risk further repercussions.

Of course, in the usual manner of these sorts of things, there is no mention of when or where I might have been deliberately creating lag in order to gain an advantage.  Naturally, one of my pet peeves in life is getting accused of something and not being told what you did.  I replied asking for more detail, but I am pretty sure I won’t get anything further.  I even had to pay the CSPA service charge of 2950 ISK to send the reply.  I am sure somebody thinks that is amusing.

So what did I do?

The only thing I can imagine it might have been was the DBRB fleet in 319-3D, where he had us dock up and undock twice when we expected a fight.  That was certainly a deliberate action which caused lag, since fleet transitions like that cause a spike in TiDi.

Me and my lag causing friends at 319-3D

Unfortunately, we didn’t actually do that to cause lag.  As I mentioned clearly in my post on the subject, we did that to change hardeners based on intel received.  Slowing things down was a side effect, something that impacted us as much as the SoCo fleet hiding in the station.  It gained us no advantage.

So maybe it was something else.  But I do not know what.

I wonder if anybody else in that fleet got a similar message from GM Pyro or if it was just me.