This LAN Is Your LAN

Monday August 6, 2012 at 2:04pm video games, lan parties Comments (0) »
 Age of Empires II
Age of Empires II

In this age of assumed broadband internet and "nice, pretty 'splosion"-style MMOs, does anyone ever play LAN games anymore?

Well, we do.  (Oh, and they do.)  Saturday evening Tony, Sheri and I did a little world-conquering - which is to say, we played a very enjoyable game of Age of Empires II, an old RTS that is still lots of fun in my opinion.

I'm sure I could get into online games if I had the time, money or inclination to put into it, but with respect to "social interaction", I really prefer that to be face-to-face when possible.  I'd much rather be in the same room with my friends - even if we're all glued to computers - than being scattered all over town.  Even if the technology was perfect - such that you could flawlessly play/talk/whatever - I think I'd still rather be hanging out at the same location.  I've tried to quantify exactly why that is in my head, but I haven't come up with a definitive yet.

One of the interesting triumphs of that evening for me that I actually played the game on my macbook using VirtualBox to run windows XP, which, in turn, was used to run the game.  I've so far been very impressed with VirtualBox as 1) it's free and 2) it works as well or better than Parallels or VMWare ever have for me (though, perhaps lacking certain bell-like and/or whilsting components). I've used this program now on OSX and Linux, and it performs fantastically on both.  There is a windows client as well, but I'm not sure I'd personally have need of it.  Even with the host & guest OS, the game ran pretty flawlessly.  Granted, it is pretty old, but when i last tried it through Parallels, I couldn't get it to run as well.

Special note for AoEII (and perhaps other similar-era games): you must be running the VM full screen when the game starts, otherwise it will crash on you.

Also, also - bridged networking is a good idea.

Which reminds me of a funny story:

So I've got good ol' Virtual Box set up and WinXP installed as the guest OS.  I'm trying to get the networking set up to allow for the VM to see other computers on the network with little or no luck.  I discovered I should be using bridged networking instead of NAT, so I make that change, but when I refresh the web browser, I get "page cannot be displayed".

I fight with this thing for about 10 minutes with no success on getting the web page to pull up again, when I decide I just don't know enough about it and will need to consult the bottomless font of geeky knowledge known as the internet.  So I do a few searches and I'm reading through some articles which are basically telling me to do everything I'm already doing.  I'm starting to get really frustrated when I realize something: this search I'm doing?  Yeah, I'm doing that in the VM.

That's right, I browsed the internet for about 10 minutes on a machine trying to look up info on why I can't browse the internet on said machine.

Apparently the network settings worked just fine, but the machine was convinced the page I was trying to "refresh" (to test them) was unreachable and simply didn't feel like it should need to confirm the fact.

Well, it was IE, after all.


Things Have Changed

Thursday September 30, 2010 at 1:30pm state of the penguin, work, family, bunguin, gencon, parties, jamming, website Comments (5) »

If you're the superstitious type, you might suggest that the title of my last blog entry was tempting the fates...    ...but then, I'd probably have to pat you for it.

Much is different since my last blog entry, and some of it is responsible for the gap between posts.  Most relevantly, I am no longer working for Legend Web Works.  I have a wide array of thoughts on this particular matter, but I do not wish to belabor them here.  Further, if you're reading this you probably already know about it - I simply wished to state it for posterity.  This is generally the case for most things on my blog and this entry is no exception.

So now I'm looking for a new job.  Unfortunately my particular area of expertise is rather narrow in scope and directly-related opportunities in this area are somewhat limited.  I've found a few leads, but things seem to be slow in developing.  I'm not entirely sure what to do and I'm a little stressed about it, but I haven't hit a brick wall yet, so I'm still trying to be optimistic.


Anyway, on to happier things:

First and foremost, Sheri is pregnant!  We're going to have a Bunguin!  We actually saw the first ultrasound yesterday, which admittedly doesn't look like much at this point - but still.  The expected due date is May 14th 2011.  We're really excited!

Secondly, as I mentioned previously, I finally got to go to Gencon back in August.  It was pretty awesome.  The Exhibitor's hall was an amazingly geeky mall full of cool stuff, but the most fun was hanging out and playing games with the Playgrounders and a bunch of guys from the Fear the Boot forum.  I have a few souvenirs from the con including a new set of dice, the Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, and a lanyard from the Fear The Boot guys.  I really liked it, and I'd like to go back at some point, but my favorite parts were things that didn't have anything to do with the con itself - things like Chris's Battletech game.  I think i prefer less commercial and more gaming - things like our local mini-cons.  Also, I'd really like to go out to Fear The Con one of these days.

On that note, we had Gamesplosion back in late August - our third local mini-gaming-convention.  This one, I believe, was the biggest one to-date.  It was held at our place for logistical reasons, and took place from friday-sunday as usual.  I ran a session of Mouse Guard and one of my own homebrews called Bot.  I played in a Weird War II (Savage Worlds) game, and played Agricola during one of the other slots.  It was definitely a great time.

And of course, I've been continuing my normal gaming.  We started a D&D game using the Sandstorm rules/setting (along with some stuff from Unearthed Arcana), and that's been interesting.  The WoD game has resumed and is starting to build in the "action" dept.  I've also spent quite a bit of time reinterpreting the Battletech rules into Savage Worlds - this is intended to make 'mech combat a bit more fast-paced and also tie a roleplaying system directly into it.  Sheri and I playtested it a bit, and I was quite happy with how it played.

We were finally present for Robb's "Talk Like A Pirate party" this year, which was lots of fun - and the location of perhaps the most epic nerf war we have witnessed to date.  Another item of note related to this is the piratey shirts Sheri's mom made us for it - they're really cool and I think they'll be handy for a few different costumes should the need arise.

Robb and I have been jamming with Josh & Bill again, which has been cool.  I think we're supposed to do that again soon.  We've picked out about 5 cover songs and we're just going over them again and again as we try to gel as a group.  It's been a lot of fun - I really missed getting to play with a band.

Finally, as I'm sure you've noticed, my site has been reincarnated yet again.  This is partly due to my job situation - I really didn't want to keep it on any framework related to my former employers.  It just felt...odd.  This rebuild is being constructed purely according to my preferences.  As of now, it's still under construction.  The blog was the first piece - additional pages will come online in the coming weeks as I'm able to build them to my taste.  Also, there is, as of now, a very modest mobile site (which looks awful on a pc), currently only capable of reading and commenting on the blog - but I'm sure I'll start working on it after the main site is completely set.  Accessing on a mobile device should direct you there.



Recording Preparations & Llamabration '09

Monday January 26, 2009 at 11:40am music, recording, friends, birthdays, parties Comments (2) »

Only two noteworthy things to mention here this week. And they're completely unrelated.

The first is that last week I started making preparations for this year's RPM challenge. Basically, i've been setting up my "studio". In the interest of improving the "tightness" of my recorded tracks (particularly the vocals) i've decided to turn the office closet into a sort of recording booth. I've cleared it out completely and lined most of the inside of it with foam from a cheap mattress pad. I've also moved in my guitar amp and the mic/soundboard setup that will run into my macbook for recording.

I spent a good chunk of time friday night and saturday afternoon doing sound checks with various instruments and vocals. It's sounding pretty good. Now I need to spend the next week writing.


On saturday we had "The Party Man Was Not Meant To Plan". This was Tony's birthday party. He apparently requested a Cthulu theme. We had all kinds of impressive unspeakable snacks and played some Lovecraftian horror games - namely Arkham Horror and Cthulu 500 (though we did have several others to choose from). And, of course, no horror experience would truly be complete for our Llama without some pink elephants. Hehe. It was a good time. I took quite a few pictures, the best of which are in the Llamabration 09 gallery.


Ticket to Birthday

Tuesday December 9, 2008 at 10:10am birthdays, parties Comments (2) »
Ticket to Birthday Image

Yesterday was Sheri's birthday.

Shortly after Ginger's birthday extravaganza, I started trying to think of something fun I could do for Sheri. Since her favorite board game is Ticket To Ride, I decided that would be a good thing to get together & play. I invited a bunch of friends over and we played a large, team-game adaptation of the game - using two different versions at the same time. It actually worked really well, and I think we want to try playing it that way again sometime (when we have enough time to actually finish). Going for something like a themed party, I also got a gingerbread train kit that I made for a sort of birthday cake... ...this was in addition to a turtle pie and a bunch of other snacks we had.

It was lots of fun, and Sheri had a great time. :-)


EDIT: Picture added to this post: all of the Ticket to Ride games we have, two of which were added last night.

Steampunk Mystery Photos

Monday November 17, 2008 at 12:00pm birthdays, parties, pictures Comments (1) »
Steampunk Mystery Photos Image

Photos from saturday's awesomeness are now up in Ginger's Birthday Party (Steampunk Mystery) gallery.

I thought it would be fun to convert this group shot to sepia such that it looks old in keeping with the steampunk/victorian/19th century theme. My original intent was to do this for individual photos, but i really don't have very many and i'm not even close to having a shot of everyone, so i decided to just do it to this one.

Anyway - enjoy. :-)


Steampunk Mystery

Sunday November 16, 2008 at 5:26pm birthdays, parties, steampunk, costumes Comments (0) »

Last night was Ginger's birthday party. I haven't mentioned much of anything about this on the blog because the details of the party were to be kept secret from Ging as long as possible.

The idea we had was for a murder mystery party with a steampunk flair. We all made steampunk-ish costumes and Rucht customized a murder mystery party kit to be a little more in this vein.

In case some of you don't know the general idea behind a 'murder mystery party' game, it's something like this: The host invites a group of guests who are all given a character role for the evening. One of them is the murderer. Through the course of the evening, the participants interact in character and will discover various details and secrets pertaining to the other characters which may make them seem more or less likely to be the culprit. At the end of the night, all the evidence is compiled, speculations are made, and the truth is revealed.

Ours was great fun. For the most part we were all roleplayers, but i don't think many of us have done much resembling larp (live action role playing). The costumes people made/assembled for this thing were great and i thought everyone did a awesome job of acting in character throughout the evening (granted there were digressions, but they were all amusing and didn't detract from the experience too much in my mind). This is definitely something I want to do again. The GM in me has decided it would be a fun thing to actually create one (though it would be a lot of work) and i've begun kicking around a few random ideas along this line.

I did break character from time to time to take some pictures. I think i got a few good ones - perhaps not as many as i would have liked, but I didn't want to devote a lot of time to that for this particular event. We did a nice group shot. As of the time of this blogging, i haven't gone through them all and I'm currently in erwin so i can't be working on that now. They should be up in a new gallery in a day or so. I'll update this post when they are.


McKenna's Costume Birthday Party

Sunday November 2, 2008 at 4:42pm birthdays, friends, parties, costumes Comments (2) »

Last night was the much-anticipated birthday/costume party for our friend McKenna. It was *lots* of fun. There were quite a few people there, and a lot of good costumes. Ginger's steampunk outfit was awesome, and Patrick's nobleman/wizard(?) costume was most impressive. Finn, of course, looked adorable in his King Arthur costume, and I had a good deal of fun taking pictures of him. I got a lot of compliments on my Vash the Stampede costume as well, which was nice. I don't think more than a handful of people actually recognized the character, but a lot of people liked the coat. :-)

The evening consisted of some most enjoyable socializing, some tasty, tasty fondue, and some other fun & games including Apples to Apples (always a favorite) and Rock Band (note: I can *not* play that game).

Near the end of the evening, we played a rousing game of Taboo. It should be noted that some of the participants were somewhat more tipsy than others - which, of course, added to its amusing nature. Also, there were at least two instances that words must have been guessed via telepathy or some other form of ESP. The first was Rucht's " might see this in a zoo..." to which Sheri quickly shouted "A zebra!" which, remarkably, was correct... ...but even more astounding than that was Nick's clue which began "So, there's this guy-" and was never actually finished because McKenna immediately yelled "Houdini!!" before he could finish coming up with the rest of the clue. Yes, the answer *was* Houdini. No, we still can't believe it either.

At one point during the game, there was a brief intermission caused by the eruption of an exceptionally brief sabre duel between Queen McKenna and the Pirate-Captain Nick. I wish I could have gotten a few pictures of this, but it literally lasted about 3 seconds, and by the time i got my camera back out, I had time for only a few poorly-composed shots before Captain Nick's weapon was sundered at the hilt and the blade ricocheted off a nearby lamp and "impaled" poor William, who had been napping on the floor nearby. After his defeat, Nick commented that clearly McKenna's blade was superior in its forging, and it was postulated that perhaps it was created by a Spaniard. Heh.

It was a great time. We need excuses to do stuff like that more often. I put up some of the best pictures i took at the party when we got home last night. They're in the McKenna's Birthday Party gallery.