Art and myself have had a long distant history, I have always admired and liked the art done by others but rarely do I feel inspired to do my own art rather relying on other methods to placate the creative urges.

Sometimes though I have a little twinge that says do art.


My gaming Hobby

So I have been having a blast playing Wurm online, it pairs really well with eve online and Runescape. Basically setup Eve online on one screen and Wurm online on the other and switch between them depending on which one has the more interesting content at the time. Runescape as a third game to play when I am worn out from playing the other two.

Starting out in wurm
Starting a deed in Wurm online

I play on the North Freedom Isles cluster on one of the PvE isles. The deed I am on is shared between 3 or 4 people and we all do tasks together such as road building, Guard tower raising and other things such as digging and surface mining.

I also pick grapes and harvest maple sap and turn the both into wonderful wine to drink and give those long timer affinity’s that make learning skills easier.

Wurm online recently was released on steam and even though I had previously played the game I had not gotten into it, this time I certainly have and have been having a great time.

The North freedom isles server cluster is a fresh cluster that was released around the time of the steam launch so if you are thinking of trying the game out now is a great time to do so.

Growing vegetables on a balcony in pots

Smokeycastle grows some Vegetables

Gardening is a pastime that I have always enjoyed. I live in a unit so I do not have much space to garden but my balcony gets a lot of sun and is great for growing plants in pots.

As you can see I have a number of plants growing from pots here and am decently happy with the outcome of my spring planting. From left to right I have a 1 million scoville chili, A tomato plant, A honeydew melon vine (that also has baby chili plants in it, A pumpkin plant that also has two chili plants growing in it. The last pot has a succulent that grows year round that I have had for a couple of years now that even survived a house move too!

I have been growing plants on balcony’s for the last 6 years and have had decent success with the best harvest being chili plants. I have grown brassicas, herbs and broad beans to varying success previously.

I am thinking that I will during summer maybe invest in buying a solar powered water pump and build my own hydroponic vertical column. It remains to be seen if the plants in that will survive being that they will only get water during the brighter days. I have never done hydroponic setup and am looking forward to the challenge. With vertical hydroponic setups you can get a surprising amount of plants growing in a small amount of space, and being in Australia getting enough sun is not an issue. hopefully even though Canberra winters are cold I should still be able to grow year round with that setup. Currently I use the winter months to recondition the soil in the pots and to make a compost from the household scraps.

The Diamond Age Book Review

Smokeycastle reads a book.

The Diamond Age By Neil Stephenson is a Science Fiction book about a possible future where nanotechnology has revolutionized the world.

I really enjoyed re-reading this book, it introduces so many concepts in easy to understand ways and has a really gripping story line.

Basically the book follows a number of characters and their interactions in a city that is host to many technological marvels and shows how those advances shape the lives of the people living there.

Of note I really liked the different city spaces that were used as analogues of different computing processes and systems and feel they provide an easy to understand foothold for someone to understand computing in general.

No Mans Sky Review

Smokeycastle plays No Man’s Sky

No mans sky has been a real treat to play. Even before it got patched I really enjoyed the solitude and game play that no mans sky had to offer.

Smokeycastle’s base in No Man’s Sky

When no mans sky launched I enjoyed playing through the story line and exploring and naming things. I never made it to the center of the galaxy but was fully content with the content that was available.

With the introduction of the NMS NEXT patch I reloaded no mans sky and got to enjoy the fun that was base building, farming and collection of resources from nature. Additionally the introduction of multiplayer elements was a real treat and allowed myself and friends to play the game together. I had a real blast making bases and helping friends build bases or teaming up for some conquest and exploration of worlds.

I really enjoyed the expansive story line found in the atlas rises update and I was finally able to ‘complete’ the story, I chose to remain in the Euclid galaxy for now since that was where my friends were currently and I hope that in the future that choice does not turn out to be a bad one.

I am really looking forward to some possible new updates such as the No Man’s Sky: BEYOND update which is said to increase the multiplayer portion of the game and also to increase the story elements of it too!

Summer trips to Casuarina sands

Smokeycastle goes for a dip

Over the summer months it gets rather hot where I live. With my new flat not having air conditioning I needed to find ways to cool off and relax. Going to Casuarina sands for a dip and a swim is one of the ways I have found to do this that is very enjoyable.

Casuarina sands is a park on the Murrumbidgee river near the cotter dam quite close to Canberra that has barbecue facilities as well as places that are quite good for a dip and swim.

Summer fun!

Going with friends there is highly recommended as it has an excellent atmosphere and I find the other people who go there are very nice people also. Just remember if you are going there to bring cleaning supplies for the barbecue and a rubbish bag for your rubbish to take home as I do not think there are any bins.

Factorio Review

Smokeycastle plays Factorio

So a while back I heard from somewhere (not sure where) about this game Factorio. I decided to purchase the game and 120 hours later I had launched my first rocket and had got the lazy bastard achievement on steam (its anything but lazy let me tell you).

Look at all that pollution!

The game is very intense with a focus on building to launch a rocket into space while automating your factories and minimizing the harm you do to the environment all while fighting off aliens who absolutely detest pollution.

I had to restart so many times because of numerous reasons, too many aliens, too few resources, went overboard on factories thus had evolved aliens from pollution ect. Half way through these restarts I learned that there was a lazy bastard achievement that was really hard to get, basically to get it you have to only produce a minimum amount of objects through your inventory before launching the rocket. Restarting and limiting the way I was producing items to factories only I found the game really opened up and made me more aware of automation. It showed me how automating incorrectly would lead to products that you do not have a need for leads to excess pollution as well as angry aliens.

Finally at the end of 100 or so hours I launched my first rocket only to find that the most important game winning piece (the satellite) was not onboard. thus I had to make another rocket but now I had angry aliens swarming over my base and resources were getting scarce. After another 20 hours I had constructed enough defenses to ward off the aliens, had constructed the satellite and had launched my rocket with the satellite onboard. Finally I had completed the game and achieved the hard achievement of lazy bastard.

Though the game had multiplayer I found that people willing to play it were few and far between and that it while being very smooth to play on a multiplayer server was not conducive to good game play. It actually caused arguments between me and my friends who played it. As a single player game it really shines but the multiplayer at least for me was a hassle.