Category Archives: computing

Grandma Berath packin’ the heat in Saints Row 3

In between shooting the Mans on-line, I’ve been playing Saints Row 3; shooting the Mans off-line. Saints Row 3 is an open world game, set in the crime-ridden, violent city of Steelport. You’re the leader of a gang, The 3rd Street Saints; your goal, to defeat your rival gangs and to build your fortune and reputation.

I’m playing Grandma Berath, the meanest, most badass, pistol packing, late-middle aged mamma in town (the character creation screen is perhaps one of the most flexible outside the Sims). So far she’s flung herself out of planes, helicopters and cars, taking out gang hideouts and gunning down rivals. She now has her homies and her crib; bizarrely with a scattering of rather plump scantily clad, apparent ‘ladies of the night’. There are rather a lot of scantily clad ladies in Steelport, generally, but I also spotted a male gimp. Steelport ain’t a town of angels.

And as Grandma Berath strutts her stuff through her hood the passers-by mutter


‘What does she think she looks like’ and, with a judgemental sneer to their tone

‘I suppose some men go for women looking like that’  (short grey hair and purple polo-neck jumpers; well maybe they do but is that really so wrong?)

A bit odd really. Maybe it just goes to show what a morally topsy-turvey mishmash of a town Steelport is.

But whatever, the game has gone smoothly so far. I’ve played one mission where you need to clear a hideout, but I kept failing it because I left the area too soon, the game didn’t seem to indicate clearly when you did. But so far that’s been the only serious annoyance, and then not really, much.

The missions are supposed to get more surreal and stranger as the game goes on, in the meantime there is a lot for Grandma Berath to do in her takeover bid. There are lots of side-missions, she has a smart phone to keep track (this works well) . Steelport is her oyster.

Comp vs Pro vs Pub in Team Fortress 2: You suck noob

Awww, Team Fortress is truly a home from home for a MMO player. In LoTRO, WoW, Everquest and so on, how many hours have we all spent debating hardcore vs casual, raider vs non-raider, solo player vs grouper in forums and within our guilds? Happy, happy times. Well in Team Fortress 2 we have the pub player vs the comp player or pub vs comp instead. Easiest way of looking at it; comp player = hardcore raider.

There is this idea that the competitive player (one who plays in a team in competitions and is competitively ranked) is humourless, elitist and treats the game like work. Who wants that eh? The pub player (one who plays on public servers that anyone can join), however, lacks discipline and commitment and basically can’t play very well. What a noob. It’s all so familiar.

Of course this ignores the fact that comp players (the pros earn money) were all pub players once and many happily play on pub servers. I know this. I’ve seen them. It also forgets that many pub players also dip in and out of competitive play and are part of more casual competitive clan teams that at the same time practice and are pretty dedicated to the game. The clan community server I’ve landed on is run by a clan like this; oh yes to be clear, clan = guild = kinship, more-or-less. You join a clan and get to wear their Tag.

It doesn’t help, that by and large, competitive play is 6v6; the main classes being scout, demoman, medic and soldier, with class limits, 1 medic, 1 demoman – this is held as being the most effective and flexible make-up. The other classes only make appearances as needed. So, the charge is that comp players can’t play the other classes and therefore don’t play TF2 as it is meant to be played, with all 9 classes present. Well, I’ve never seen a rule book saying how TF2 is meant to be played. But it is a flaw that 5 classes are generally not included so if someone loves playing pyro, say, it means that they need to change  if they want to go comp.

In response, the Highlander format has been introduced. This is 9v9 with every class represented, once; yes, Highlander – there can be only One.  Since I tend to play pyro and engineer, I like this.

So, comp vs pro vs pub….as usual in these matters, pretty blurred divisions. Or at least that’s how I see it, coming new to the game. Basically play how you want to play and enjoy it.

The video shows a Clan team from my pub server competing at i42 (big LAN held this Easter) against INFUSED.Tt, a comp team who later went on to win the whole competition. And on their way to briefly capture the middle capture point. So claiming a moral victory overall.

The last sentence in the video isn’t actually true.

(courtesy of TommytheCat)

Ode to laptop

I have wanted a laptop for about 10 years now but have always considered it an unnecessary luxury until recently, when for some reason, I decided that the time was right for a purchase. I did some research on the Internet and eventually decided upon the Acer 6930g. There seemed to be a number of different specifications, but I settled on one that seemed very good value and excellent for playing LOTRO..huzzah!

And now my laptop has arrived, and I’ve played on it and it is shiny and lovely and totally nobby. So nobby in fact that I have decided to write a poem about my laptop, something that I don’t think happens often enough these days. So here goes.

Ode to laptop

My 6930g laptop is so black and shiny

On my knee it looks so tiny

But that is not because my lap is big

It is because, even though the graphics memory is 1 gig

Acer have scored a total ‘ace’

And put that and 4GB RAM and 320GB hard drive in one compact space

A specification quite high for a price so low

That was bought on-line from the supermarket Tesco

One of the things that I wanted to emphasise was that it was the laptop that was small and compact and not my lap that was large, I hope that comes across clearly in my poem.