ScampLAN

Instead of going to Multiplay’s messed up i43, we’ve gone for a smaller, friends-only LAN at home.. in our newly decorated lounge 😀

So far we’ve mostly played singleplayer games, with the guys nagging me to complete Crysis 2.. which I’ve now done, though I was shown up by Ali completing both Bulletstorm and Red Faction: Armageddon in two days!

The demo for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine made an appearance too..

Yay for lots of dead Orks!  I found the first level harder than the second, with many retries of the last room.. the big Orks were a bit painful.  The second level was much easier as the Jump Pack meant that for quite a way, all I needed to do was land on enemies to kill them 🙂

This game is now on the wanted list.. along with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Gears of War 3..

I’ve also tried out DC Universe Online, but I’m not going to rush to buy it.  Although what I played was quite fun, I think the appeal may run out after a while.. from what I’ve heard, there isn’t a lot to do at max level, and unless I had friends playing too, I can’t see that I’d want to run around doing the same thing too many times.  Maybe if the game turns up cheap..

We’ve also picked up the DLC for Borderlands, as it was cheap on Steam.. though we now have to get on with our game sometime!

i-42

Where i-40 was cold and windy, especially in the temporary structure we were seated in, i-42 was sunny and hot almost the whole way through.. 😀

I drove half the way down, with a death-grip on the steering wheel (I’ve not done very much motorway driving), past a ridiculous number of lorries and one place where an accident on the other side of the road caused our side to slow to around 10mph.  Tim took the last part of the driving.. we were hoping to catch up with another friend at this point, as text messages had shown we were only 5 minutes behind, but with a stop-off at Sainsbury’s we were never going to make it. 😀

Check-in was again nice and quick thanks to arriving early, and instead of waiting around to take our PCs in at 6, we headed to the pub for food and drinks first.

All in all this was far better than the cold and wet start to i40 last year.. we hadn’t been able to go into the site as the internet hadn’t been set up for our temporary structure!  Our group were seated in B1 this time, away from the loud and annoying people who think roaring for every reload is ‘atmosphere’.  Although it was still hot, there was a balcony to escape to, and it was a lot quieter and nothing was being thrown around.. definitely going to be pushing for this spot next event.

One of the first games I played here was the awesome Portal 2, which I had started earlier but lacked the time to finish.  Plenty of other people were playing, with some on co-op, so I had to get a move on to avoid being spoiled..

I loved GlaDOS’ malicious comments in the earlier part of the game, though I wondered how I was going to end up making a break for it as she seemed happy to test me endlessly.  Wheatley was quite funny up until his change, which I think I should have spotted.. but I was rather gleeful when he turned GLaDOS into a potato even if he did still have me trapped.

The different coloured gels were a lot of fun.  On my first encounter with the white goop though, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do and ended up covering as many surfaces as I could in frustration, before spotting the little ledge I was meant to go to.  I loved evil Wheatley, especially when he tried to kill me in stupidly obvious ways.. 🙂

The second day of LAN involved a barbeque with the rest of our group.. we had the weather for it this time at least.  I’m not sure if we’re technically allowed to have BBQs on-site, but no security turned up, so no matter 😉

We also took a look through the exhibition hall, where we tried out a few games on the Nintendo 3DS, including Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and a Zelda game which made me feel quite ill trying to focus on the screen while moving it around to aim the catapult.  While I love the idea, I’m going to be staying away from the 3DS.. if I feel bad after a few minutes use, it’s just not for me.

Aside from this, the only other real point of interest for me was the Demon stand, where they had an amazing car simulator running DIRT 2.  The fastest lap was to be rewarded with a year’s free internet, and of course I came nowhere near the quickest time though I loved the experience.  The seat, pedals and wheel come to some crazy price.. I think £24,000 was mentioned..

Elsewhere in the hall it was surprisingly quiet.. no freebies, and very little attempts by staff to draw people in to the various stands either.  There were people playing on what might have been some kind of tournament, but with no real interaction, we wandered through and back out again.

There are usually a number of flyers on the desks, and this time there was a 50% discount for the EA Store.  After trying out Bulletstorm on a friend’s PC, I bought both that and Crysis 2.. so much for not buying any more games.. 🙂

I made a start on Crysis 2.. but there were too many distractions to concentrate on it during the day and I was playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent when it got late.  There were a few changes to the sections I’d seen in the demo, with a bit more puzzle in the form of the chemicals I needed to find and mix.  The part where I had to avoid an invisible enemy in the water made me just as jumpy as when I’d originally seen it, which was probably amusing for those near me in our row.

Other games which saw some action were Beat Hazard on a friend’s computer while he played GRID on mine, some Killing Floor, an attempt at League of Legends (seriously out of practise) and a round or two of Unreal Tournament 3.  I had also brought along my Xbox 360, so there was a quick look at Stacking, and a bit of the co-op Zombie Mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops, as well as an all-too-brief look at Homefront for a friend who hadn’t seen it yet.  Maybe next time!

Tim made some use of his 30 day trial of WoW, though it was hard to tell if he was enjoying it or putting up with it for the sake of saying he’d had a go.  I also managed to get a little bit of time in WoW, and started off collecting bits for the Noblegarden Easter Event.. there were plenty of bunnies hopping around, including a pet.. 😉

I also pestered a friend to show me where to get the rather interesting Venomhide mount.. a pet which turns into a mount!

Unlike my Warrior friend, I had no trouble in being poisoned the required number of times.. he had to take off all his gear and use the most useless weapon he could find, whereas I just hit the Ravasaur with the basket I was collecting eggs in 😉

Eventually I had been poisoned enough and I was given my own Hatchling to take care of..

Our last night of LAN included some non-gaming hijinks as one friend started falling asleep in his chair.. this meant he got plastic cups balanced on his head :>
There was no chance of an all-nighter this time either.. all too tired, maybe from the heat, and we headed back to the tents at around 4.30am.

The last day didn’t include the usual CFMN vs inv TF2 match; instead we had a big game of L4d2 versus.. for which I had to switch to Tim’s PC as my copy of L4d2 had managed to corrupt itself.  Awesome game.. will have to make sure that we get more of this played from home too 🙂

i40, a little bit late

This post was supposed to make an appearance one week ago, after returning from i40.
However, we still have no internet at home (it’s coming up on four weeks now), and some personal stuff too which meant I wanted to spend the week curled in a small ball, not interacting with anything.

Enough of that, though – i40!

We arrived just before the rain.. a fantastic start to a weekend where the sleeping is mostly done outside 😉

That wasn’t the end of the ‘fantastic start’, however, as we were then excluded from taking our machines in till way after 6pm because the temporary structure wasn’t ready.. and then when we were finally able to get in, there was no internet.  With no internet, there was also no Steam..

The first game played, then, was Warcraft III, as it was one of the few games available which didn’t need an internet connection or updates.

In amongst those games was a go at the “Run, Kitty, Run” map: you have to run along a spiral path to the centre, avoiding the ‘dogs’ which kill you on touch.  It gets harder as you progress, as the paths are narrower, until there’s barely room to get past.. for the first time in many, many attempts, we actually managed to get to the end, where it seems the reward for success is.. to start again with even more dogs on the paths!

I was also introduced to Beat Hazard, thanks to another friend.  This takes any music track you own and turns it into a simple space shooter, very like Geometry Wars.. and it makes very bright, pretty colours.. *gazes*

You start off with space-trash to shoot, but as the track progresses you face stronger enemies which shoot back.  Fortunately, you collect power-ups as you go, which makes your weapons a little more useful.. as well as more colourful.. and there are also power-ups which increase the volume of the track too.

It’s another ‘unblinking’ game which probably shouldn’t be played in a dark room at LAN 😉

After playing this, Audiosurf made another appearance, and with it, a little competition going on in terms of the scoreboard.

Minecraft became a slight obsession for one friend..  this is a 3D sandbox crafting game, with a variety of types of block: wood, coal, etc, and strange blocky life-forms, the most interesting being zombies!  I had a brief go at the game a while back, but after spending two day cycles building, and two night cycles hiding in my buildings from the zombies, I then found my trial of the game didn’t have zombies.. durrrp!
It was admittedly quite fun watching huge piles of TNT go up, though, especially when it resulted in framerates of 1 or 2, or crashed the PC :3

In the run-up to i40, we picked up Borderlands, thanks to another Steam offer.  Oh, Steam.. what would I do with all my money if not for you?

Borderlands has 4 player co-op, which is great as I do like playing with friends.. but I have to say that I found myself confused by the weapons, as per usual in this type of game.   Having to pick up ammo for the weapon I was using, while leaving other ammo for my team just added another layer of trouble.. if I don’t know the guns, I’m really not going to know what ammo they use.

Despite this, I love the game, though I want to complete the game in single-player so I know what I’m doing, and don’t feel like I’m holding my friends back next time.

We also got a couple of games of Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising in.. trying out the Free-For-All mode which I really enjoyed, especially with high resources allowing me to just pump out units.  I think I’m improving on my tactics now, using the Techmarine to fit with my defensive playstyle.  FFA made a nice change, but I think co-op is still going to remain my favourite.

The last night of i40 turned into an all-nighter, with a foxy puppet, fits of giggles, a brief foray onto the rather disappointing Omegle, and later fits of shivers.. the temporary structure really wasn’t draught-proof and by 4am I was glad of fleecy blankets and two friends to hide between for warmth.  Next time I think I’ll be voting for a warmer and quieter hall, maybe in with the WoW players.. lalala 😉

LAN wouldn’t be LAN without a massive TF2 battle between CantFitMyN and Crazy/Inv, and so on the last morning we duly had our game, though there was no victory for CFMN this time.  Next time, maybe! 🙂

i-39!

Sleeping outdoors at the beginning of April isn’t normally something I’d recommend.  However, sleeping outdoors because you’re attending a Multiplay i-series LAN party is fine – and exactly what we were doing this last weekend.

We arrived around 1pm on Thursday, to find ourselves amongst the first there.  Happily this meant we were able to register in just 10 minutes, including the time it took for the database to be rebooted.. a huge improvement on i-37, where we waited for over two hours in the queue!
We then set up our tents in a nice spot by the old grandstand, finishing just in time for it to start throwing it down!

After that it was a matter of waiting for our friends to arrive, set up their tents, and find our way to the pub for a bit before the event was properly opened up.

There were also some nice new hoodies for members of CantFitMyN, with names on the back and smaller logos with initials on the front.  This resulted in a game of “spell rude words with our initials for the camera”, pictures of which I won’t be adding here 😉

Along with the rest of the clan, we took over one end of the first floor of the Grandstand, and it was clean, undisturbed and fairly quiet, until Sunday night’s chatroulette antics from the row behind us, at which point we couldn’t hear ourselves speak for the screams coming from this group..  Otherwise, a damn good spot, worth trying to bag again for i-40!

So, normally there are a few new games which grab my interest at lan.  This time it was Heroes of Newerth (beta), which I’m told is virtually a clone of Warcraft III’s DoTA mod.  I’ve not tried that mod so I’m not going to make any comparisons, but I have to say I loved playing this game despite the kickings I’ve had this far. 🙂

The weekend was wrapped up with a massive battle on TF2, with CantFitMyN managing to win their first game against Crazy / inv .. though possibly due to having a few more players on the team!

i37

Multiplay’s i37 was awesome 🙂left4deadT
Met new people, played loads of games, camped in a wet field, made a few trips to the shops to get ice because the hall was just too hot..

Capped some nice lan treasure.. a crucial pig and a hand-grenade from the last event, thanks to Paw-Fox 🙂

Left 4 dead T-shirt design by a guy called Snakebyte (right)

This time I learned that I don’t actually need energy drinks; I had very little this lan, and needed way less sleep.. and no comedown either.. 😉

Meeting randoms was great – was too shy to do that last lan, but did it this time and loved it.
Strangers have the best candy!

There was a lot of bitching about the noise and vomit.. what I found is that at 6am, all the shouty people are asleep, and the boomers are spent, prolly sleeping it off.. and there are still awesome people around to play with..

Added aircon does not mean the temperature in the hall will be bearable.
Flipflops are essential for the showers, cos you do NOT wanna put your feet on that floor..
Farm Shop is additionally awesome with chocolate+marshmallows!

I won’t be going for i38.. it’s gonna be too cold, and we might be going away for holidays instead.. but roll on i39, even if it is at Newbury again, as rumours have it!

farm shop