Elite: Dangerous

elite

I’ve pre-ordered/backed/funded Elite: Dangerous. Fab has talked about it a lot and it sounded really good but I wasn’t sure how much of a game there would be right now. The last time I really knew anything about it there were a few combat missions with nothing much to do. That has changed.

Now there are a fair few star systems that you can fly between, stuff to trade in and ships to blow up. There are also some online components that are working towards the heavily instanced MMO thing Frontier are going for.

I picked up the game two days ago and I was grinning from ear to ear. The feelings that Frontier make you feel about flying these ships are just amazing. They’ve really been channeling the Battlestar Galactica vibe with the physics and the flight which is fantastic. Yesterday I ordered a HOTAS setup (hands on throttle and stick). It’s one of the cheapest ones on the market (~£40) but wow does it take the game to an even higher level.

Elite has some decent control setups ready to go, you’ll probably want to tweak them a bit so you can have lateral and vertical thrusters on the throttle. Hopefully I’ll post more about my setup and tweaks once I’ve got more practice.

I can only imagine how amazing Elite is going to be once you start using an Oculus Rift. The game is clearly being designed with that in mind because you can free look around the cockpit and see through the glass canopy above your head.

Anyway, time to get back to Elite. Fly dangerous.

I’m Not Dead Yet

Lots of stuff has happened since my last few posts way back in April. This blog is a thing I don’t want to see die but it is one of the first things I leave by the wayside when things get busy. So what’s happened?

I unexpectedly graduated from the University of Sheffield. What? Yep. I didn’t maintain a high enough average to progress onto the fourth year of my Physics and Astrophysics degree. So I graduated with a B.Sc. Hons (2:2) in Physics and Astrophysics. Not exactly the best result but by far not as bad as it could have been. If you’ve paid any attention to me IRL or on social media you’d have seen how much I didn’t enjoy Physics so I’ve actually taken this as a bit of a blessing.

Why a blessing? Well because I’m about to start a M.Sc. in Computer Vision with the EEE department in Sheffield. CV looks fun, I’ve been playing around with OpenCV in Python and I’m very happy with my choice of Masters courses. As a bonus I’ll technically be more qualified than if I’d stayed with Physics because apparently M.Sc. degrees are worth more than the integrated MPhys things. Anyway I start that in the next two weeks.

Even though I was booted out of the Physics department I’ve stuck around and worked on a Polymer Physics summer project funded by the EPSRC. So I got paid to write code. YAY CODE. Hell it even kinda works which is good. Python probably wasn’t the best language to use for computational stuff but I could rapidly build and change things and not have to worry about how to deal with CSV files in C++ or how to mathematically do Chi Square tests. It still needs work but that’s work I don’t really mind doing.

I’ve moved house! Out to Walkley. It’s a “village” “outside” Sheffield. Or was a long time ago. Essentially it is a nice cheap place to live. It’s actually got some great stuff near by like a bakery, good shops and a cheap barbers. I’m also enjoying the separation of Uni and personal time which I never really had living a few steps from the department. The only negative so far is that it is further away from the hip coffee shops in the centre of Sheffield.

I’ve actually decided on what I want to do after University. Software. Where I do that is a vastly different question, if the EEE department would take me on for a Ph.D. I’d do that at the drop of the hat. However I don’t actually know if this is at all reasonable, I’m going to have to have serious chats with people. During the time between leaving the Physics degree and getting accepted onto the M.Sc. I did apply for jobs. Some of them were a bit crap but I figured that at the very least it would be practice writing cover letters and doing interviews. I did manage to find one job that I really wanted, essentially I’d have become a “Data Scientist” at a software company. In fact I reached the phone interview stage but stopped there because I got accepted onto the M.Sc. course.

TL;DR – things looked down for a while but now they are looking better than I could have hoped for.

Angels of Death Episode 26

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Fab and I just finished recording episode 26 of Angels of Death. We talked about what we’ve been up to, the new Imperial Guard Codex and the rumours of a 7th edition of the rules. We went into it thinking we’d be angry about 7th but by the end we were resigned to it being a silly idea and not being keen on it.

Do you like trains? How about Trains?

trains

I like trains. I like the look of trains. I like the sound of trains. I like travelling on trains. I sometimes want to  build my own railway network. So I obviously like games about trains. Therefore I own Ticket To Ride and have played it a fair bit. If you’re not familiar with Ticket To Ride, it’s a board game based on collecting sets of cards which you use to build a rail network across the USA. It’s quite fun. But recently I picked up a new game about trains. It’s called Trains.

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The Data Pack Dilemma

Data packs, I’ve explained what they are in a previous post about Android: Netrunner but basically they are small expansion packs to the game.

With data packs you seem to have two options:

  • Buy all the data packs to get up to date with the meta. Your local meta or the netdeck meta.
  • Don’t buy the data packs just yet and play with what you have.

I’m torn because I already love Netrunner and want to play as much as possible but I don’t want to drop all the cash straight away. I feel that if I were to go to my local game stores I’d need all the data packs to stay current yet I also feel that one could play with the core set for weeks or months before needing to get data packs if I stick with playing house-mates and friends.

I may have already made my decision by picking up the first three packs but I’m still torn as to when I pick up more.

Decisions.

Android: Netrunner

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Android: Netrunner is a “living card game” from Fantasy Flight. It’s a new spin on Richard Garfield’s Netrunner from the mid 90s. It’s set in a cyberpunk future dominated by megacorporations who want to advance their goals and hackers who seek to stop them.

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Bread: Episode III – Revenge of the Bloomer

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Since my last post I’ve made three plain white bloomers. The recipe is super simple:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 10g salt
  • 7g instant yeast

Mix the ingredients, I’ve started to put salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl to start with on the advice of Paul Hollywood. Knead for about 10 minutes and then let that rise for about 2 hours. Take the dough and knock it back. Shape it and place it onto your baking tray to prove for 40 minutes. Then dust with some more flour, make some diagonal cuts and whack it in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes at about 230 centigrade. Take it out, the bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Leave it to cool on a wire rack.

Very easy! I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. I’ll probably flick through some more pages of Paul’s book for inspiration.

Podcast QR Codes

qrcodes

I don’t normally go in for QR codes. I find that people put them in inappropriate places where using your phone to scan them would just be plain silly. I think the best example of this is QR Codes are placed on car/vans, impractical whilst driving and a little bit weird when walking past one.

Today I had a nice idea. One could use QR codes to easily distribute the URLs for RSS feeds of podcasts. I think this only works on Android but when I scan and open an RSS URL on my phone I have the option to open it with my feed reader and add it. I find it less cumbersome than copy & pasting or typing the URL.