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.

Dragon painting

Smokeycastle commissions a new painting

So a while back I commissioned a painting from my friend Ana Hanson. The paining is of a dragon holding a metal sphere.

Smokeycastle’s commissioned painting.

The painting took 2-3 months to complete but the wait was totally worth it and I am very happy with the result.

The painting (Neither myself or Ana has given the painting a name as yet) sits proudly in my lounge room as a centerpiece and I get quite a few comments from people new to my home.

For anyone interested in Ana Hansons artwork or interested in commissioning a piece from Ana, her website is http://www.anahanson.com/

Terraria

Smokeycastle discusses his time playing Terraria

Terraria is a good game that I had a lot of fun playing. I found it was a very fun game to play with friends. I played with friends mostly, but when I wanted to progress and no-one was available to progress with me I would play a bit by myself.

Home Sweet Home!

I most enjoyed the mining aspect of the game, finding ores and chests and fighting monsters in claustrophobic environments really ticked my adventure boxes and made me feel challenged in game.

The boss fights were very interesting and challenging or summoning the bosses the first time lead to a lot of deaths and fun and hi-jinks.

The area I most enjoyed the combat in was the dungeon and jungle biomes where the combat was fast paced and light was absolutely essential. I really enjoyed setting up water candles and farming the monsters.

All in all i got 50-60 hours on Terraria on a number of servers (we remade servers pretty often. I am really looking forward to upcoming games from Re-Logic especially Terraria 2