Exemplary Performance

I’ve had some good games since I started playing World of Tanks again.  Here are some awards I recently earned:

The Arsonist award is not easy to get, especially with an SPG.  With a single shot, you have to almost destroy a tank and score a critical hit on the fuel tank and have the fuel tank rupture and catch fire and have the fire do enough damage to finish off the tank.


I was wondering if I’d ever get the Bombardier award, as it entails destroying two tanks with one shot.  High-explosive artillery shells FTW!


I was not expecting the Battle Buddy award; I had no idea it existed.  I guess it says something about an arty player since SPGs are typically not very accurate and often fire high-explosive shells which cause splash damage. It’s very easy to damage allies if one is not careful.


Destroying a third of the enemy team by yourself is a decent accomplishment.


The Raider award is earned when you capture the enemy base — you have to make it to the enemy flag and stay close to it for a minute or two — and do it without ever being spotted by the enemy.  This is fairly humiliating to the enemy.  It’s especially so when the enemy does it with a terribly slow SPG.


The game also has a campaign for each class of tank.  Each campaign consists of fifteen missions, and each mission consists of a primary win condition and a secondary win condition. These missions are just a goal you can set for yourself — you don’t have do them.

The reward for completing a mission is typically a pile of credits and/or some in-game consumable.  Completing a mission with honors (i.e. fulfilling both primary and secondary conditions) rewards additional credits.   The reward for completing every mission in a campaign includes a female crew member (and this is the only way to get them).

I had completed the entire campaign a few days ago, but the game gives you the option to retry any mission which you did not complete with honors the first time.  Tonight I managed to finally complete the entire campaign with honors.



The results of the game wherein I completed the final mission with honors:


And, finally, here’s a photo of my favorite tank — the Hummel:


More World of Tanks

I started playing World of Tanks again after a long absence. As usual, the quality of the graphics and sound have noticeably increased since the last time I played.

I play German tanks almost exclusively, focusing primarily on the SPG line (“self-propelled guns” — aka artillery, or “arty”). The highest tier SPG I have is the G.W. Tiger (tier 9), but I’ve kept the SPGs from the three previous tiers — G.W. Tiger (P), G.W. Panther, and Hummel — because they’re so much fun to play.

The Hummel is my favorite tank to play in the entire game.


I recently completed the final mission of the SPG campaign, which earned me my first female crew member.


I also like the German tank destroyers, and am currently building experience on the Jagdpanther and Jagdpanther II. A second line of tank destroyers has appeared in the game’s research tree, so I’ve started along that one as well with the boxy Pz. Sfl. IVc (the “toaster”).


I like the Jagdpanther, but the lower tier StuG III is probably my favorite tank destroyer.


I used to play light tanks a lot, but they’ve fallen out of favor for me after I earned my Mastery badge with the VK 28.01 after I killed five tanks in one game with it a few years ago:


I used to play medium tanks a lot, too, but that tapered off quite a bit once I researched my first heavy tank.  After discovering that I’m just not very good at playing heavy tanks, my focus moved primarily to SPGs and tank destroyers.

Here are a couple more photos from the game as it looks now:

And here are some videos I just made:

(Here’s my full World of Tanks video playlist containing older videos)

I Flew an X-wing Today!

I was at my brother’s place today and got to try the Star Wars: Battlefront – X-wing VR demo on his PS4. It was incredible!

Here’s a video of my play-through of the demo (The first seven minutes or so are just me getting used to being in a virtual world with an X-wing starfighter – jump to about 8:00 to see the start of the game):

It’s disappointing that there’s nothing more to the demo than one simple mission. There’s really no reason why the demo could not have had an “infinite play” mode.

Sadly, there appears to be no news of any actual full game like this being developed.

Still, I’m sure someday I’ll be able to fly a properly simulated X-wing fighter — there’s just too much money to be had in selling such a game.

Rainbow Squadron

A-wings are one of my favorite ships from Star Wars.  In the X-wing Miniatures game, there are two paint schemes for the A-wing: red and blue.  A while back I painted up a green-themed A-wing.  Last week I finished up a yellow-themed one. I really weathered this one up, too – maybe too much so. Meh. I guess it’s just seen a lot of action.

awing_yellow_0 awing_yellow_1Working with yellow in my previous “Camaro A-wing” was a real pain, but I think I got the hang of painting yellow properly now. As advised by others, I painted bright white the areas I eventually wanted to paint yellow. The yellow paint worked really well when applied over top the white.


“Rainbow Squadron” is coming along nicely.  (Note: The blue and red ones are the factory-painted ones)
awing_yellow_3 awing_yellow_4I guess an orange and a purple one are next.

X-wing Repaints

I painted up a couple of my X-wing minis.  Here are the two best ones so far:


I was never a fan of the original color scheme of the Moldy Crow.  I thought something darker and stealthier looking would look good.



20161125_235301 20161125_235342 20161125_235655 20161125_235621 20161125_235500 20161125_235724




The fastest ship in the X-wing Miniatures game deserved to be repainted to look like my Camaro.



20161125_234945 20161125_235016 20161125_235028 20161125_235208 20161125_235123Inspiration:


The Great Escape

A week ago, some friends and I finally tried out one of those “escape rooms” that have gotten popular over the past couple of years. The concept of an escape room is a sort of game that a group of people play in a single room.  The players are presented with a series of puzzles that they need to solve in a limited amount of time in order to effect their escape.

There’s usually some sort of dire theme involved: you have to defuse a nuclear bomb, or escape the clutches of torturers, or something like that.  Furthermore, no electronic devices are allowed (you’re provided with a locker to stash your smartphones in before the game); it’s just you and your brains.

Companies set up and maintain these rooms, designing the puzzles, renting the rooms out for an hour or so, and resetting the puzzles between uses.  There’s very little to it, and I think that’s part of the reason why there are so many places that offer various “escape” experiences. There are over half a dozen such companies in my city alone, and each one appears to offer multiple rooms (and even portable rooms).

The particular theme of the room we “played” was a situation where we were trapped in a room in an insane asylum by some psycho — somewhat akin to the Saw series of movies.  We had one hour to solve a series of puzzles, each of which led to a clue to solving the final puzzle that would free us from the room. It was the most challenging room this particular company offered, and it had an 18% success rate.

When we first started, it took a while for us to get accustomed to how the whole thing worked.  None of us had done an escape room before, and although we knew they consisted of puzzle-solving, we had no idea what form these puzzles would take.  We all went in pretty confidant, but during the first twenty minutes I seriously started to doubt whether we’d even get close to escaping the room.

After some time of confusion and cluelessness, we suddenly had a rapid series of breakthroughs that led to us solving a couple of the puzzles.  Our confidence restored, we spent the rest of our time in the room working on the rest of the puzzles with vigor.

Near the end of the hour we entered another progress-drought, and I started thinking we would just not have enough time to figure out the few puzzles we had yet to solve.  With about ten minutes to go, we split into groups and attacked multiple puzzles simultaneously instead of combining all our brainpower on one puzzle at a time.

With five minutes left on the clock we managed to solve all but one of the puzzles in the room.  Despite missing one of the puzzles, the clues we got for the puzzles we did solve were enough for us to figure out the solution to the final puzzle which led to our ultimate escape.  We successfully beat the sadistic kidnapper at his own mind games and won our freedom.

Escape Room SuccessWe’re definitely going to try more escape rooms in the future.  Most of them seem to be geared toward groups of four to six people, but there are a couple that are apparently pretty large and which require a dozen people or more to play.

Because of the low startup and maintenance overhead, I can see the concept of escape rooms and similar sorts of amusements staying around for a while.

With the dawning of AR and VR technologies, escape rooms and similar “false reality” games could become quite an incredible experience. Case-in-point: check out the Ghostbusters Experience at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York.  In it, players are given VR goggles, a “proton gun”, and a proton pack (which contains a portable computer) and immersed in a virtual world of spooks and spirits.

I firmly believe we’re at the dawn of a new type of entertainment experience where people will essentially be playing the parts of characters in true 3-D movies themselves instead of watching moving pictures on a screen.