Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

Tag: images

The Elder Scrolls hankering

The desire to play MMO games comes on in waves with me every six to nine months. After playing Lord of the Rings Online for a good while, my thoughts have turned to the Elder Scrolls universe again. As I’ve written elsewhere, probably over at Ulujain.org somewhere, I’m a great fan of the milieu, having been playing the Elder Scrolls series since Arena was released in 1994.

I’ve been working spasmodically on getting Arena to run on my Linux computer, but that’s a tale for some other time.

I keep tabs on what’s going on with the Elder Scrolls Online though I haven’t played it since May, 2017. I like what Zenimax have done and are doing to this game. From some very shaky and questionable beginnings, ESO has evolved into a quality product that is eminently playable, and eminently fun.

But…

It’s a timesink. It is not difficult to lose yourself in it for 12-15 hours a day. 12-15 hours one will never have back. It’s arguable that if you had fun, and you feel the better for it, then it was time well invested. But I have my sights on getting a lot done this year and anything that will potentially derail these ambitions is, quite frankly, toxic.

So, I’m going to let ESO and its allures remain a fond memory. Forever? No, I can never say never to going back, but not any time soon. Anyway, here’s Himalia.

My Bosmer Dragonknight Himalia

My Bosmer Dragonknight Himalia

A day out in Loadstone

I went ahead and installed Foo Gallery. It seems to be the most lightweight of the ones I looked at. Anyhow, my wife, my youngest daughter and I went for a drive to Loadstone today, a location about 25 kilometres north of Kyogle along the Lions Road for her equine psychotherapy.  It is very scenic country, and i’m familiar with it as I had relatives living a bit farther south of this location at Mt. Lion.

Site update: a gallery

Just a brief update on a plan I have – that’s to introduce a photo gallery to this WordPress blog.  I’m currently looking at a few that are purpose-built for WordPress and will decide on one soon.

Growing green things

My first post for (officially) summer is about growing plants. Fitting, no? We have only a limited space where to grow things so the object here is to get the most out of it. So nothing big. I’m not going to write much about how it all works – there’s plenty of advice out there superior to any I could give, so this is mainly pictorial.

Potted plants
Here we have a couple of decorative chili plants (Capsicum annuum). I’m not sure what the flowering species are, but that feathery thing at the top left is Holy Flax (Santolina rosmarinifolia).

garden 2

All sorts of things growing here – basil (Ocimum basilicum), rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa), tomato (Solanum lycopersicon), capsicum (or bell pepper) (Capsicum annuum), celosia (Celosia spicata), stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), radish (Raphanus sativus), mint (Mentha edulis), luffa or loofah (Luffa aegyptiaca) and the very tiny plants growing in the far right planter is thyme (Thymus vulgaris). The feathery thing below it is Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida).

main planter

This is our main planter box. The feathery plants are marigolds (Tagetes erecta). That’s a passionfruit at the back (Passiflora edulis), with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), catnip (Nepeta cataria) and dill (Anethum graveolens). Yes, our cat goes gaga over the catnip. Over on the right, we have strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), sage (Salvia officinalis) and parsley behind it (obscured) (Petroselinum crispum). So yes, we do have parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Since those photos were taken, I’ve planted some chives (Allium schoenoprasum) in the planter.

Who died again?

Just a quick update. Looks like News Corp have strangely captioned the reporting of actor JJ Murphy’s death. The picture speaks for itself, though in case you didn’t know, the portrayed actor is Peter Dinklage.

the wrong actor

Elder Scrolls Online – patcher overdrive

Elder Scrolls Online had their first significant patch overnight. Anyhow, it went beyond 100% when patching. Over-eagerness to please?

eso-oatch

Running Stonekeep in DOSBox

This is using the latest make of DOSBox. This guide would also work well for anyone who’s bought the game through GOG. You just need to ignore the install bit and refer to changing screen size only.

To avoid old hoary games playing in a tiny-assed window on my monitor, I changed the relevant lines in dosbox.conf to read:

dosbox settings

You cannot resize the window (apart from alt-entering it to fullscreen), if output is set to surface. Setting it to opengl (assuming you’re using manufacturer’s drivers, not OS native ones – this is important!) allows you to resize it, which I’ve done by replacing the default window resolution setting to 1024×768. This works like a charm for Stonekeep. Alt-entering it makes it looks awful, pixellates it, and if you’re using a widescreen monitor, it stretches it unnaturally.

Stick your Stonekeep CD in the drive (this assumes you have a legal copy, right?). Install and start DOSBox being mindful of the suggestions above.

dosbox

Mount your hard drive and CD drive by doing:

mount c c:dir where dir is the directory on your hard drive you want to mount. For the sake of this tutorial I installed Stonekeep on my D: drive (hence the line on the above screenshot). Your mileage may vary.

Mount the CD by doing:

mount d d: -t cdrom where d is your CD’s drive letter.

Install Stonekeep, switching to the CD by doing d: then install. Do not install it in the default location it puts there. Change it to something simple like c:SK. Let it do its thing. The verifying copied files dialogue may take some time to get through, and it may appear it’s hung. It hasn’t – let it go – it’ll pass it. Once to the setup screen, configure digital and normal sound and movie resolution. Then exit.

Then navigate to where you installed Stonekeep (i.e c:sk) and type SK.

Enjoy that kick-ass intro and the retro gaming.

Stonekeep in dosbox

An ode to the Commonlands

This is about Everquest 2’s Commonlands not Everquest 1. In the prior game they were two zones, East and West but I believe they’ve since been merged.

commonlands 1

Sunset between the towers

I have a love affair with this zone. This is where Sony got it right with zone design. Later levels in EQ2 follow the same pattern – large convoluted areas cordoned off by super-high cliffs. Compare this to the Moors of Ykesha, which is an island suspended on an 8000 feet cliff! That’s how they all are now – vast cliffs everywhere. In contrast, the Commonlands is a huge plain, easily traversable. It’s perfect.

That’s not to say there’s no variety – there is. It has it all, canals, ponds, streams, bridges, docks, ruins, deserts, gorges, villages, caves and even a few graveyards to spice things up. It lacks a forest, but if you really need that, go next door to Nektulos Forest.

Highlights of the zone include: the Crossroads in the central eastern past, which is a quest hub for lowbie evil characters. Wailing Caves in the north-east, which is a lowbie dungeon. Farther west, there’s the Dog Trapper lake and the entrance to Darklight Woods. The wizard spires are in this vicinity too. To the south is the realm of the Bloodskull orcs, farther west is the Ruins of Val’Marr with its resident High Priest, and the Lady Anyanka Polevshi, a ghost. Lions and wisps live north of here, at the Druid Rings and just north of that is the Tower of Zarvonn.

Something for everyone and it manages to be both logically laid and out and well-spread and not divided by mountain walls like other zones are. It’s all good.

The soaring mountains...

Those soaring mountains…