Battleship, Row!World of Warships continues to hold my attention, at least to some extent. Today brought me a new milestone in the game: my first battleship.
As usual, click for biggernation
Yep, it's a South Carolina! On one hand, first big-gun vessel to have its main armament all on the centerline. On the other hand, it's only slightly faster than continental drift, some planets have a better turn radius, and its armor is... lets be charitable and call it "insubstantial."
However, it does make for some pretty screenshots! That's something I haven't complemented WoWS on yet: how good it looks. For a free-to-play game, it looks unimaginably pretty. Back when I was playing text games on my TRS-80 Model III, I never would have thought that games would look like this:
If you're only able to click on one picture to make it bigger, click this one.
Mind you, these pictures aren't from some replay system or cinematic cutscene... nope, this is actual gameplay. I didn't even notice the gunnery clock on the forward cage mast when I was playing, but yup, it's there! Just loads of little detailing on these models. Unfortunately, the first match I played with the ship, I wound up being sunk by the combined firepower of two battleships and a cruiser. The third match was even worse, as David and Clayton (aka TheSquirrelPatrol and MachineCivilization) and myself found ourselves facing Tier V and VI cruisers, backed by a couple of Kongos. Outranged from the very beginning of the match, all we could do is close the range as fast as we could, and dodge incoming fire. "But Wonderduck," I hear you say, which is impressive considering my headphones are cranking 'The Outbreak of World War' right now, "I thought you said the South Carolina is slow and can't turn."
That's right, I did. Please note, this isn't a screenshot of my South Carolina sinking, but David's. He at least went down guns blazing. Me, I exploderated after getting to fire a total of one volley. I believe those rounds moistened a destroyer. Perhaps in a few years, the corrosive nature of the salt water I splashed upon the DD will gnaw a hole in it somewhere. Alas, that was my only contribution to the fight, for it was at that moment the Kongo got in range and suddenly there was a South Carolina-shaped hole in the ocean where my ship had been.
SoCar in better, more intact, times
Hopefully we won't be uptiered quite so badly next time.
Greebly-zaks! You hooked me into this game and I just got a St Louis (started later than you) yesterday.
Still figuring it out. But sho' is pretty, you got that right. I'll start makin' St Louis sized lumps on the ocean floor after I finish my blog sweep.
Posted by: The Old Man at January 31, 2016 07:47 AM (duGaw)
TOM, what's your game name? I'll add you to the ever-growing list!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 31, 2016 09:10 AM (KiM/Y)
By the way, if you hold down the alt key, or, go into settings and enable the "Alternate interface", your gun view will also include range and time of flight information. You can use that to adjust your aim point and leading. And the X key will cycle through target designation of the ships that are in range.
Posted by: Mauser at January 31, 2016 10:35 AM (5Ktpu)
Here's an ignorant question by someone who has never tried the game: I gather that distributed teams can play several ships as a coordinated fleet, but can multiple players co-handle a single ship -- one doing fire control, one at the helm, one calling tactics, etc.?
Posted by: Ad absurdum per aspera at January 31, 2016 11:33 AM (470Py)
Ad, not in WoWs. As Wonderduck mentioned, this game is more arcade-game-like; it's a relatively slow moving, marginally strategic shooter.
However, there are several bridge simulator games for multiplayer co-op, although all the ones I'm familiar with are space combat sims, not WWII sea combat sims.
Posted by: Ben at January 31, 2016 12:18 PM (DRaH+)
I haven't played the game either, but the impression I get from watching videos is that the action is slow enough so that you wouldn't really benefit from having multiple players on a single ship. One player can comfortably handle it all.
The play field is huge and the ships aren't all that fast. The guns have long reload times so you don't fire all that often. All of which is relatively accurate historically. I've read that IJN Yamato could only fire its main battery once a minute.
Sometimes you get completely overmatched and defeat is essentially inevitable. That battle felt like some of my old EVE battles, where the opposing side have overwhelming superiority, and it was just a matter of waiting for them to work their way down the priority targets to you. When four or five ships all are shooting at you from out of your range, well...
But when it's more evenly matched, I'm finding that teamwork and a plan makes all the difference. This battle for example, we did a bit of planning, and sent two CA and two DD up the middle to probe, and we did it cautiously, stopping at the corner of the islands, popping smoke, firing off some torps to scare people away, and then when it looked clear, a BB followed us through. Two DD and two CA died within a minute of us breaking through, for no return losses. Meanwhile the rest of our force went to A, and we ignored C entirely. The group that pushed through at B then wrapped behind and we hit the enemy at A from both sides and they died quickly. Then it was just a feeding frenzy on the remaining ships. We lost one DD and one CA to the enemy, and if anything, they had the superior ships.
Besides teamwork, the key thing is to enter battle with caution. If you charge in, and find yourself the unlucky person that is the first target in range for three or more enemies, you're going to have a bad day.
Posted by: David at January 31, 2016 02:20 PM (+TPAa)
SDB, it takes about 25seconds to reload the main guns on the SoCar.
Uncle Ad, I'd be curious to see how you'd do in this game... half of me thinks you'd be okay. The other half thinks you'd be Nimitz, Spruance and Kurita, all rolled into one, with a sprinkling of Donitz on top.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 31, 2016 03:47 PM (KiM/Y)
9Kurita? Why would you want to insult him like that? Kurita was a moron...
Just spent a weekend at PAX South, so haven't played in a few days. Got my South Carolina and could get the Kawachi if I wanted one (not inclined to go up that tree yet though...)
You can find yourself in an unfavorable position when it comes to weight of metal, but so far I haven't ever been in a game like I'd get in sometimes with War Thunder, where I'd be in a tank that couldn't penetrate the rear armor of some of the stuff on the enemy team. It might not be an even match but it's at least still a match. And if the guy in the big ship on the other side is an incompetent, it may well be an even match.
(Downside: rank 5 carriers are pretty awful if you're in a rank 3 ship. None of them have enough anti-air to matter, and you don't have the HP to soak torpedo run hits (in a battleship) or the anti-air to make them be wary of your presence (cruisers). Destroyers don't really worry about this particularly though - they're nimble enough to make lousy targets for torpedo planes, so carrier players won't bother unless there's nothing big left to shoot at.
Posted by: Avatar at January 31, 2016 07:03 PM (v29Tn)
SDB, Kurita pulled off one of the biggest miracles of the Japanese war.
Having done so, he then realized that he could not accomplish his mission without suffering 100% losses throwing his fleet against landing craft that he knew were already empty.
With this in mind, and having intercepted messages that told him that Ozawa's carriers had been attacked and sunk, he made the connection that he wasn't, in fact, facing the main carrier fleet of the US Navy.
He then pulled off another miracle by withdrawing his fleet, without any air cover to speak of, allowing it to fight another day and, ohbytheway, not throwing away thousands of experienced lives needlessly.
For pulling off two miracles in one 24-hour span, some people consider him a "moron." I tend to disagree with that sentiment.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 31, 2016 08:11 PM (KiM/Y)
Duck, I gotta say, Steve's position is definitely the orthodox one.
To the best of my understanding, those landing craft, even empty, represented a priceless military asset, one which the US would not be able to quickly replace. Their availability was the greatest restriction on Allied action. Destroying that fleet would have set back the remaining invasion of the Philippines by months and delayed any further US advances in the Pacific considerably.
On top of that, while the troops had off-loaded, they still needed supplies (and a lot of them!) and the ability to sink transports full of supplies would definitely have put the kibosh on any offensive on Leyte. In fact, had they landed enough supplies to keep the beachhead at all? For that matter, even withdrawing the troops without those landing craft would have been rather difficult. I'm sure that we're not talking about "entire landing force dies of starvation" levels of danger, but surely it would have been worth doing.
Also, given that the entire Japanese military strategy was "inflict a big defeat and then immediately attempt to come to terms", having the opportunity to do so and not taking it was quite a missed opportunity. It's not too much to say that the Japanese were never closer to having their late-war war plans succeed than that afternoon. Kurita could have lost every ship and every man under his command and still won a favorable peace for his country. Even an unfavorable one would have been better than what they ended up with (by the standards of the Imperial Japanese - of course things turned out roses in the long run, but they can't be blamed for not having known that.)
Of course it wouldn't do to rag on a Japanese commander for choosing force preservation - for rarity value if nothing else - but at the end of the day, isn't it fair to judge the preservation of those ships versus the further contribution they actually made to the war effort (i.e. bupkus)? Kurita had to have known that this was the Imperial Navy's last hurrah, and that with the US in control of the Philippines there simply would be no further opportunity for offensive action...
Granted I haven't seen a lot in the way of really detailed analysis of the Leyte stuff, so it's possible all of the above is inaccurate in important ways - got a good book to suggest?
Posted by: Avatar at January 31, 2016 09:50 PM (v29Tn)
13Steve's position is definitely the orthodox one.
Yup. I prefer to give the man somewhat more respect than calling him a "moron".
Kurita could have lost every ship and every man under his command and still won a favorable peace for his country.
Crap. Crap squared. Crap cubed and multiplied by pi. The US would have never settled for less than the total defeat of Japan... if anything, it would have made Japan's situation even more dire in the long run.
...with the US in control of the Philippines there simply would be no further opportunity for offensive action.
Any sane man knew that Japan had lost long before Samar. Kurita was many things, but a fanatical zealot was not one of them. It is my considered opinion that he did exactly the right thing. If Taffy 3 had folded like a house of cards, that would have made things different... but it killed three cruisers, blew the bow off a fourth, and damaged every battleship in Kurita's force except for Yamato. By the time he got to the landing area, he would have been under air attack from the BIG carriers as well as the escorts; there's no guarantee that he would have succeeded in doing much once there.
Would he have disrupted the landing timetables? Nope. Leyte Gulf occurred three days after the initial landings on Leyte itself. Japan couldn't reinforce the island and had zero control over the air. AT BEST, Kurita might have maybe slowed the process down by a few weeks, maybe a month... but he couldn't have reversed what had already occurred.
I don't believe the sacrifice of the fleet and the thousands of crewmen would be worth a couple of weeks, do you?
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 31, 2016 10:48 PM (KiM/Y)
I don't disagree that the Japanese government was probably in fantasy-land with their prospect of whether the US government could possibly be forced to a negotiated end to the war.
But that was, incontestably, the actual Japanese plan at this phase of the war. If Kurita thought the plan was completely unworkable, that even success wouldn't lead to any positive result... then what was he doing there at all? After all, he did lose several ships, completely ignoring the wreckage of the two other Japanese fleets, and just about everything he got home never sailed again (from inability to repair, or from lack of fuel).
Was initiating the attack on Leyte a mistake? Absolutely. And we can't blame Kurita (at least, not him alone) for that mistake. But having sacrificed their carriers, the ships in the northern force, and his own casualties thus far... it's tantamount to putting 90% of your chips into the pot and then folding before the flop rather than going all in. It was a bad gamble to take but a worse one to abandon at that point; a classic moral defeat.
Posted by: Avatar at February 01, 2016 12:58 PM (v29Tn)
The Most Eagerly Anticipated
The year is 1994. Our Hero, horribly damaged by his failed expedition to grad school, has found himself a job where his (at the time) nigh-on encyclopedic knowledge of music actually has a use: he's a shift nabob in the music department at BigBlueBoxStore. For once I'm going to brag about myself here: we were easily the best music store in town, and I was arguably the main reason why. Between my radio experience, my personal collection, and a willingness to listen to anything except Country (and even some of that, too!), I could help just about any customer find something they'd like. The other members of the music department would always come to me if their customer had managed to stump them on a song title... "Hey, Wonderduck, the song goes 'Juliet, the dice were loaded from the start...', who is that?"... and chances were pretty darn high I'd get it right.
Remember, kids, this was before Google.
Or the internet, really.
I had been hearing rumors from various radio and music trade pubs (Billboard used to be the cat's meow, lemme tell ya!) that there was a movie coming out based on a comic book which sounded promising, but it was the soundtrack that had those of us in the music department drooling. There was no way the purported lineup could be real. Stone Temple Pilots, Pantera, Rage Against The Machine, MLWTTKK, Henry Rollins, the Violent Femmes, and The Cure? And there's no way Nine Inch Nails could really be part of it.
The 90s were a weird kind of golden age for soundtracks. The Until The End Of The World movie was a mess, but its soundtrack is chock full of awesome. See also, any number of action movies.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 29, 2016 08:20 AM (rKFiU)
> The 90s were a weird kind of golden age for soundtracks.
> The Until The End Of The World movie was a mess, but its
> soundtrack is chock full of awesome.
Hadn't heard that one, but am probably going to pick it up. Looks eclectic to say the least. (My own favorite part of the record bins has often been Various Artists, though it does help to be unashamed to use "skip" as well as "repeat.")
A random 90s favorite: The Horse Whisperer (the "music from and inspired by" disc, not the Thomas Newman score), which actually got me into a couple of artists to whom I'd paid insufficient attention.
And then at the end of the decade came the "Songcatcher" soundtrack. Not a very good movie -- I was glad I blundered across it in a hotel room rather than paying money in a theater and thus feeling obliged to sit through to the end -- but the album is well worth it, if only as an open invitation to fly down the Interstate with all four windows down and Maria McKee wailin' away with the knob turned to 11...
Posted by: Ad absurdum per aspera at January 29, 2016 03:46 PM (Xqqhu)
Maria McKee? If she still sounds anything like she did when she was with Lone Justice or her first solo album, this is something I need to hear, toot sweet!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 29, 2016 06:27 PM (KiM/Y)
Oh, Maria McKee. I still listen to her first solo album regularly (in fact I started when her name came up). I haven't listened to everything she's done in the 2000's, but some of the songs I've sampled led me to believe that she lost a step or two sometime in the 2000's. She can still sing, and even sing well, but she lost that natural combination of twanging, growling, and wailing while nailing sonorous highs and dissolving into steady, resonant lows.
Posted by: Ben at January 29, 2016 07:58 PM (S4UJw)
So as near as I can tell, the Fleet of Fog vessels in World of Warships are simply supercharged versions of their non-FoF counterparts. Lord knows the guns sure seem to have an extra punch as they turned me into cottage cheese in no time flat. Non-players of the game might have missed it, but y'all take a close look at the harbor my St Louis is in... it might look awfully familiar.
It's an enjoyable enough game, but I'm not sure if it's really catching my fancy. If it was more "realistic", I could see myself going crazy-go-nuts over it, but the arcadey gameplay is a turnoff. Maybe if I was any good at the game it'd make a difference. Heh. As-is, I have no idea how to make it more realistic without making each match hours long, but I'm no game designer.
Note that only players who switch to the special port can see the Fleet of Fog camo. Everyone else sees the standard ship. I've been trying to get to that, but I haven't seen the definitive list of which ships are participating. So I don't think the stats are necessarily different.
Posted by: Mauser at January 27, 2016 07:48 PM (5Ktpu)
I believe it's only Kongo and Myoko that have special Arpeggio schemes.
Posted by: Will at January 27, 2016 08:42 PM (1EtXn)
They couldn't really bring Fleet-of-Fog ships into the system and make them accurate to the series, because a single FoF cruiser (say, a Nagara) could wipe out everything that isn't FoF. The Fog destroyed the entire 21st Century fleets of Japan and the US with no FoF losses, and presumably the 21st Century Earth fleets were drastically better than anything in WOWS.
Anyway, FoF livery for Kongou can't be accurate unless there's a stern looking blonde wearing an evening gown standing on top of the pagoda.
Well, we'll never know... nobody's ever gotten close enough to a FoF Kongo to check without being blown into their component atoms.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 28, 2016 12:31 AM (KiM/Y)
The Kamikaze R event is a different ball of wax. You gotta go to the page, sign up, then you earn "pearls" through missions you can spend opening boxes, culminating in probably not winning the ship itself. (But there's "free" boxes that will give you 10 of each flag and about 800k in credits, so if you're playing, sign up and get the free stuffs?)
Posted by: Avatar at January 28, 2016 01:59 AM (v29Tn)
I was a bit disappointed to find that the event is past all but the last milestone, and I hadn't heard about it.
Posted by: Mauser at January 28, 2016 09:26 PM (5Ktpu)
World of Warships: High Score
Due to gentle proddings from friend Ben over at Midnight Tease, the hooligans over at Bo Time! Gaming, and my innate interest in a naval combat game similar in style to War Thunder, I downloaded the free-to-play game World of Warships a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to catch up with Ben so we can squad up... that seems to be the best way to play in head-to-head... but the game has a fairly robust player vs bot play too. The bots can and will kill you dead if you give them half a chance. After nearly 100 matches against bots, I decided to try my hand at head-to-head earlier today. The results surprised me:
click either image for larger
The short version was that most of my team went east, while myself, another cruiser and a destroyer went west. I was lagging behind the other two (they were in Tier IV and V ships, while I was in a stock Tier III St Louis) when they rounded the islands at that end of the map... and discovered that almost all of the enemy team also went west. Meanwhile, the rest of my team discovered to the east that the bad guys had left three battleships to bottle up that side of the map. Effectively, as it turned out. When I saw the approaching red horde on my side of the map, knowing that all I could do to help my two teammates was get myself killed, I reversed course... and headed for the center capture point. The bad guys got the west point, we got the east... and a couple of minutes later, I captured the center. I did, however, take an aerial torpedo in the bows, the result of a desultory air attack that I couldn't quite dodge, and a stock St Louis has an Anti-Aircraft rating of "zero." As they flew away, I noticed that they were disappearing from view after descending about 10 km away... almost like they were landing. As the only enemy in sight was both a long ways away and something I had no desire at all to engage, I decided to see if I couldn't cause a slowdown in enemy flight operations. Sure enough, both enemy carriers were sailing together, less than a half-kilometer apart... and on the near side of a decent sized island. I told my Chief Engineer to disable the engine room's safety features and give me all ahead full as I closed in on two helpless Langley-class flattops.
My brave St Louis-class armored cruiser.
Well, "helpless" is a relative term. As I charged in, they both began flinging torpedo planes at me as fast as they could. At one point, they even managed an absolutely textbook "hammer-and-anvil" attack on me that if I hadn't seen it coming would have killed me deader than disco. As it was, I ate two torps that took my health down to below half... anything with guns could have taken me easily. But Langleys, like most carriers, are armed with slingshots and spitballs. Soon enough I was giving the lead carrier full broadsides. It rolled over and sank in a couple of minutes. The other carrier was frantically trying to reverse course back towards the Myoko, which would have had me for lunch even if I'd been at full health. It never completed the turn: my first volley disabled both his engines and his steering. The third set him afire. I didn't need many more past that.
Meanwhile, my team's carriers, given control of the air, did bad things to the Red Team's fleet; they still had the western cap point, but they never even came close to getting anything else. We won a resounding victory; I was second on the scoreboard but I rightfully feel like I won the game for us.
World of Warships isn't anywhere near perfect. It's very arcadey, destroyers are incredibly overpowered (the guy above me on the scoresheet was in a DD that sank three enemy ships), and the next time someone calls it "realistic" will be the first time. But it's pretty fun, and really, that's all I need.
Hm, I'm in the mood for a new game. Wanna toss me an invite code? I'll install it tomorrow.
Posted by: Avatar at January 24, 2016 05:49 AM (v29Tn)
Sounds like an incredible match. When it goes well, the vs. Play can be a lot of fun. It took me a while to go back to it after trying it, initially, though. You do run into the jerks spouting nonstop verbal abuse, and if the enemy team has a competent destroyer pilot or a division of guys that stick together and coordinate fire, you can go down in a hurry. Three St. Louis's in a line all firing on one target can take any comparable cruiser or early BB out in just a few rounds of fire.
Posted by: Ben at January 24, 2016 07:24 AM (DRaH+)
I'll plug you in my contacts, and we can division up at some point. I think I still have my Phoenix.
The St. Louis is probably the best ship in tier three. It's a floating machine gun.
You'll like the Phoenix. Big jump in speed and range. The torps suck, but all US torps suck until the upper tiers. They're mostly for keeping big-nasties at a distance (or surprising the ones stupid enough to get that close).
Posted by: Will at January 24, 2016 08:42 AM (1EtXn)
I'm a little confused: were you part of a team of human players, one per ship, or were you playing alone against a single human opponent?
Ben, it was the stuff dreams were made of, lemme tell ya. When I realized I had not one but two aircraft carriers under my guns at short range, I knew I had fulfilled the fantasies of ship captains everywhere. It'll never happen again, I'm sure, but for a moment there? Oh, mama!
Will, excellent! I'm Wonderduck over there, of course. Drop me a line in-game.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 24, 2016 10:53 AM (KiM/Y)
Welcome aboard, mate! WoWS has been steadily improving, and the graphics with a good card are amazing.
BTW, the same Wargaming account can be used with World of Tanks too, and their other game (World of Warplanes, IIRC, but the gameplay is WAY too cartoony from what I've seen.)
I'm Dr_Mauser there.
Posted by: Mauser at January 24, 2016 11:28 AM (5Ktpu)
I'm, as usual, Midnitetease in WoWs. Currently working on leveling Tier 4 and obtaining my first CV.
Posted by: Ben at January 24, 2016 12:54 PM (BdQxf)
Steven, I'm sorry, I didn't see your question! The game that I wrote about was actually player v player... my very first PvP game in WoWS. Prior to that, my experience had all been a team of humans vs a team of bots.
In either format, it's one player, one ship. I guess aircraft carriers are slightly different (one player, one ship + squadrons of airplanes), but I'm still some way away from that experience.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 24, 2016 04:23 PM (KiM/Y)
It's an arcade game, and yeah, there's not even a -concept- of ammunition. Ships can fire until they sink. The cycle rate of torpedoes isn't that long and so it's a perfectly valid tactic to fire off spreads at -nothing- if you think there's a likelihood that the enemy will steam into them. So they're still tin cans, but they're tin cans with sledgehammers.
"Avatar_exADV". See y'all in port.
Posted by: Avatar at January 24, 2016 09:40 PM (v29Tn)
I downloaded the game this afternoon. It is quite addictive. My first co-op battle, running around in the Erie, I got sunk one ship and disabled two more, assisted in a capture, and as I'm cruising past the the last surviving enemy laying fire into him: "Torpedoes in the water!" from the lookout. Men, it was an honor serving with you. I'll have to start learning which ships carry what kind of armament so I don't do that again.
"TheSquirrelPatrol". Good luck and clear sailing.
Posted by: David at January 24, 2016 09:49 PM (+TPAa)
Yeah, if ships ran out of ammo, most battles would end in a draw. It only came off of closed beta this summer, so it's still a WIP. (Even World of Tanks has a 0.9 version number, and it's 5 years old).
OTOH, torpedoes have limited range, especially US ones (~5 km early on) and no IFF. (Japanese run about 8 km). And given the lead time they take, even if you DO use the aiming guides properly (and many players don't seem to) one change in speed or direction is a miss. The biggest problem was teamkills from fools in destroyers firing from the back of the pack and blowing up their teammates. They recently nerfed that to half damage because it was such a problem.
Posted by: Mauser at January 24, 2016 11:19 PM (5Ktpu)
In one of the videos the Duck linked to, the ship we were following ate four torpedoes fired by a friendly. I had the sound off, so I don't know what he said when it happened, but I bet it featured a lot of four-letter words. (Maybe I'll go watch that again just to see.)
Interestingly that didn't sink him. So add yet another layer of unreality.
Just played a few rounds with David, quite fun, quite fun.
Was playing earlier and low on health, and a destroyer had managed a perfect spread on me - no way I was going to be able to avoid any of the fish. Was quite impressed, despite myself... right up until they ran out of range maybe 100 yards from my ship. Unfortunately for the DD, by this point he was without engines and on fire and my blood was up. Did not end well for the poor tin can.
I'd just finished a reread of Shattered Sword and am definitely in the mood for naval gaming. Not that fond of the pop-in, pop-out spotting, though.
Posted by: Avatar at January 24, 2016 11:47 PM (v29Tn)
Yes, thanks to David for three fun matches as a teammate!
Steven, some torps are relatively small... and battleships have a LOT of hit points.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 25, 2016 01:07 AM (KiM/Y)
Duck, it was a destroyer, not a battleship! 4 torps hitting a destroyer and going off (and not carrying magnetic exploders) should obliterate a destroyer.
I'm up at 2am, and it's all your fault! I had fun playing rounds with Avatar and Wonderduck, and then I played like 3 more hours unlocking various ships. I still haven't managed to live to the end of a player vs player match though.
Posted by: David at January 25, 2016 04:04 AM (+TPAa)
Dammit, I missed all the fun. Had meetings all day yesterday and went to sleep as soon as I got home.
Something that hasn't been mentioned is that the major offset to unlimited ammo is scale. The world is compressed to something like 1/4 or 1/8 actual relative size, and consequently the ships all move much, much faster at much closer distances than in real life. It creates a somewhat languid version of twitch gaming that simulates what a naval battle looks like in a movie. Or at least that's the way I look at it. It's not realistic, and destroyers are STILL overpowered despite being, apparently, severely nerfed months ago, but it's "painted" as if it's realistic. If that makes sense.
Posted by: Ben at January 25, 2016 08:09 AM (DRaH+)
Will, I'm sorry, I had to remove your comment due to the raw URL you posted. Please use the link button in the future... I don't wanna do that anymore.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 25, 2016 06:29 PM (KiM/Y)
That's odd. I did use the tool, but commenting from a mobile might have had something to do with it.
Posted by: Will at January 25, 2016 08:13 PM (1EtXn)
Things I learned today: being up against the zone boundary doesn't mean nothing can attack you from your back side, it just means you won't see the torpedo bombers coming. Oooh, look at the pretty sharks....
Posted by: David at January 25, 2016 09:26 PM (+TPAa)
Av, I played three games last night. In one, my St Louis stumbled upon a Fleet of Fog Kongo. That match didn't last long.
In the second game, my DD rounded an island... just in time to intercept every torpedo ever made by the Japanese. That match didn't last long, either.
In the third game, my DD had three battleship kills (torpedoes away!) and severe damage dealt to two cruisers. Unfortunately, the two cruisers were on MY team (torpedoes away... oh criminy!).
I gave up for the night after that.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 27, 2016 08:46 AM (KiM/Y)
Wonderduck, taking screenshots is easy. The printscreen key copies the image into your clipboard, and also saves a jpg in a "screenshots" folder in your game installation directory. If you want a pretty shot without the game interface, you first turn off the interface using ctrl-g.
I've played way too much of this game since you pimped it here, it's kept me up to 2am three nights in a row and I haven't gotten any of my chores around the house done....
My best battle so far was the first mission in my Tenryu, where I blew a defending DD and CA (both tier II) out of my way to get into the back field, where I then took down two opposing carriers. I had a good spread of torpedoes about to add a battleship to my tally, but a flight of torpedo bombers got to it first, and that battle was all over except for cleanup that happened on the other side of the map.
Posted by: David at January 27, 2016 11:54 AM (V4nC5)
You just inspired me to go back and watch Arpeggio of Blue Steel again. And if St. Louis (a pre-dreadnaught ship) is "Tier III" then I was wondering how Takao is rated?
The Takao class is generally considered the best cruiser the IJN built, even though there were later designs (like Mogami). With 10 8-inch guns and 16 long lance torpedoes, it should seriously kick ass in these kinds of battles.
WoWs skips the Takao class, probably because they're keeping the Japanese cruisers small, light and fast. If the Takao was offered as a premium ship in the future, I would guess it would be offered as a Tier 7.
Posted by: Ben at January 27, 2016 03:56 PM (JYung)
Hmm. I've avoided this one because the science is pretty damned broken, which is likely to yank me out of the film in a hurry.
Maybe I'll give it a whirl. *shrug*
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 22, 2016 08:19 AM (rKFiU)
3I've avoided this one because the science is pretty damned broken
There's very little in the film that wasn't heavily resourced, scientifically. Yes, the science advisor on the film had to write a separate book to cover it all, but it's there. If you can accept wormholes, that is... if that doesn't work for you, then yes, it's broken.
Other than that, the biggest scientific complaint I've seen about it is that the ice is too strong.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 22, 2016 08:30 AM (KiM/Y)
I just noticed this--missed it watching the movie--is that _Braille_ on TARS? If so, that's pretty dumb: it's paint, so you can't read it by touch, and it's far too big to run your thumb over. So, well played, model team.
Someone could make an argument about how it's for the other robots to recognize/ID each other but that doesn't make sense either, because there's better ways to do that, and even if you wanted the Braille, it would probably make more sense to run it horizontally across the top or something.
But notice what I'm complaining about, and it's not the science. I did like what happened to Dr. Mann, though.
Posted by: rickc at January 22, 2016 06:47 PM (FvJAK)
RickC, I just checked and yes, those are indeed the braille patterns for "TARS". I hesitate to call it braille for the reasons you mention, though!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 22, 2016 07:07 PM (KiM/Y)
The robots were a clever design, just not a particularly useful one. More style than utilitarian.
And why have such a powerful self-destruct built in to them? But I do agree with the starchild comparison. But that seems such a common problem that a friend of mine refers to it as when an anime gets "All Glowy" and in the last episode or two all hijinks are replaced with some metaphysical/spiritual sermon and the deus ex machina sets everything right.
Posted by: Mauser at January 22, 2016 07:54 PM (5Ktpu)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I loved the pretty visuals but couldn't stand the rest of it, pretty much for the same reasons Scott Lowther laid out here.
Posted by: flatdarkmars at January 25, 2016 09:45 PM (wgzE6)
What? In WINTER??? Is That Even Possible?
I have to admit something to y'all... I'm sick.
No, no, not that type of sick... I mean the illness type of sick. A couple of weeks ago, I took a day off from work as a sort of mental health (shaddap you!) day; I was feeling somewhat stressed by life. The holidays have never been my favorite time of the year, and with some stuff happening at work, I needed to hide away for a while. So I did... and that Saturday night my chest started to feel a little tight. I woke up Sunday morning with an abrasive cough. By Monday morning, the cough was joined by a headache and indications that this was going to be ugly... but I had a more pressing issue: I was in training for claims processing on a new state. I couldn't miss any of that... it was scheduled for three or four half-days, mornings. So I gritted my teeth and made it through the entirety of Monday. I wasn't swell, but I could work through it easily enough. Or so I thought.
Monday night, all hell broke loose. I'll spare you the details because this isn't that sort of blog, but it wasn't pretty, it kept me awake for hours longer than I should have been, and thankfully I always have an emergency pack of toilet paper stored in a closet.
And the cough had gotten worse to boot. It had gone from a rasping thing to the biological equivalent of running piece of luon through a table-mounted router: loud, messy, and totally, epically, pointless. Tuesday's training was misery, both for myself and my fellow trainees. Once it ended, I walked back to my desk, collected my stuff, talked briefly to my boss, and went home for the day. I managed to make it through Wednesday and Thursday, finishing the training and working full days, though "death warmed over" makes it sound like there was a positive to be found in my condition somewhere. And then came Friday.
I got up, got dressed, drove to work, and told my boss I was realistically too sick to be there. When she (quite reasonably) asked why I didn't just call in, I didn't really have an answer except "I don't like to do that." So I drove back home, crawled back into bed and slept until Sunday. The cough changed from agonizing to productive, the headache wound down to tolerable levels, and all is right with the world.
Okay, no. I'm still sick. I still cough occasionally, I'm tired as hell, and while I feel okay to start the day, by the time work is done I'm miserable. So, yeah, still sick. The weather ain't helpin' none, neither. The temperature is jumping up and down like a pogo stick, highs in the negatives one day, then highs in the 30s the next. It's like my immune system tried as hard as it could, threw its metaphorical hands in the air and said "we're moving to someplace warm... like Hell.... as fast as possible." So why am I telling you all of this?
Aw man, that sucks. Hopefully you can kick the crud and soon!
I lost a couple of workdays last month and I'm still Neo-in-the-Matrix-style dodging the various iterations of the crud that my coworkers are trying to foist off on me. UGGGH.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 20, 2016 08:26 AM (rKFiU)
As GreyDuck will probably attest, the older you get, the more painful life is. But the less often the creeping nussman respiratory crud gets you. Even if it feels worse.
Life is an exercise in pain management.... And your reaction to it.
Posted by: The Old Man at January 20, 2016 12:27 PM (duGaw)
Firefoxy, Yootoob, And Thou (Updated) (Updated again)
Earlier tonight, Firefoxy and Yootoob appeared to have a sort of snitfit with each other. All of Yootoob's formatting went out the window, down a dozen stories and straight into the dumpster. The dumpster was then set on fire by a guy named Sal using a half-dozen old tires, a jerrican of gasoline, a butane torch, and a hairdryer. All the while, Firefoxy laughed and laughed and laughed, illuminated by the glow of the flames.
Yeah, kinda like that.
Even worse, the same thing happened on websites that embedded yootoob viddies. Like, for example, Wonderduck's Pond and this post. All was horror and trouble and everything had a toothache and dogs and cats living together. But it was only yootoob, and it was only in Firefoxy. Different browsers had no problem, different video sites played fine. Updating Firefoxy didn't help, nor did the usual cache and cookie cleansing. So what in tarnation was going on?
It is a puzzlement.
Some digging around hither and yon seemed to suggest that it wasn't, in fact, a problem with yootoob or Firefoxy at all, but with the AdBlockPlus add-on. I was resigned to turning it off for yootoob and going through the hell of their ads once again... which would probably drive me back to smokin' and drinkin' and carryin' on. Knowing how close the world was to a horrible fate, a couple of users over at reddit came up with a solution. If you're having this problem, open ABP, go to exceptions, and add the following lines:
Voila! Everything solved, even embeded videos play now! Apparently, the problem extended into other browsers using ABP as well, so it should work with Opera, Chrome, etc, too. So there. That's fixed. Everybody back on your heads!
UPDATE Friday 947am: A rep from ABP showed up in that reddit thread and says the culprit is the "Malware Domains filter". If you disable that, yootoob is fixed. As most people have multiple filters running, this shouldn't be a problem. I turned off the two exceptions and the filter and everything is back to normal; indeed, it's a better fix than the two exceptions provided. I've inquired as to what sort of timeframe we're looking at for the filter to be fixed... I'll let you know when I find out.
UPDATE Friday 402pm: As of right now, you need to actually press the "update" button on the Malware Domains filter. Once you do that, the problem is fixed and you can reactivate the filter!
Hmmm. Haven't run into the problem yet, but it's nice to know there's a quick & simple copy-pasta solution.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 15, 2016 08:26 AM (rKFiU)
Running Chrome, mine did what I think you're describing a day or two ago. It lasted for a few hours, then everything straightened out. Since it was Chrome, I suspect AdBlock updated, but I never looked into it to find out what was going on. Could be something different, though. I'm not having the problem now, anyway.
Posted by: Ben at January 15, 2016 08:53 AM (S4UJw)
Ben, see my update: it was one of ABP's filters causing the problem.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 15, 2016 09:51 AM (KiM/Y)
I switched from ABP to Adblock a while back and I found it more congenial.
Also, Chrome >> Firefox, but YMMV.
Posted by: Rick C at January 15, 2016 07:55 PM (FvJAK)
Clearly. The only thing that Chrome does better for me is crash, sometimes my entire computer. The only reason it's installed at all is because I needed it when I was at the Duck U Bookstore, so I could attempt to do payroll from home. And, as I said, it often crashed.
So, yes, YMMV indeed.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 15, 2016 09:38 PM (KiM/Y)
I haven't had to do any of the filter stuff, so I'm guessing whatever problem I had wasn't the same thing. *shrug* I preferred running Firefox or one of it's many variations, but I constantly had memory leak problems. For a few years I would switch back and forth between Chrome and Firefox, but Chrome has been stable for me for the last couple of years. Plus, it's easier in my opinion to from Firefox to Chrome than from Chrome to Firefox. IE, or Edge now, I guess, finally imports and adapts as easy as Chrome, but I still don't trust IE.
Posted by: Ben at January 16, 2016 08:56 AM (S4UJw)
I had not had any problems with Ad Blocker Plus for either Chrome or IE, even while using Youtube over the time period you describe. What has annoyed me is that trying to get to Microsoft's Safety Scanner page has proven impossible under most circumstances on either IE or Chrome. I did manage to get through to it once - only to break Windows Update in the process. Now that I fixed Windows Update, I can not get to the Safety Scanner....
Posted by: cxt217 at January 16, 2016 08:41 PM (HFKy5)
A Starman Falls To Earth
David Bowie died of liver cancer late Sunday night, two days after he turned 69.
During a musical career that spanned nearly 50 years, he managed to change musical styles practically as often as he released albums. From glam to funk and soul to blues to electronica to rock to new wave to industrial and back again, one never really knew what you'd be hearing when you popped in a new Bowie disc. My first real exposure to his work came in his "new wave" period, with the 1983 album, Let's Dance.
In many ways, Let's Dance is both the best and worst way to be introduced to Bowie. It's easily his most accessible work, being unabashedly pop-flavored... and it and 1984's Tonight are rather unlike the darker, more thoughtful work he produced before and after. Ironically, the short movie/music video for "Jazzing For Blue Jean" off Tonight earned him his only Grammy out of 10 nominations. (he was given a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2006). I went into my next taste of Bowie's music thinking he was a slightly lightweight musician.
This is many things, but lightweight pop is not one of them. David Bowie is very much like weather in the Midwest... if you don't like it, just wait a short time: it'll change. But along with his music, the other thing that Bowie was known for was his ever-changing personae. From Ziggy Stardust to The Thin White Duke to the Scary Goatee Guy to Elder Rock Statesman, again he changed from hither to yon constantly. At one point in his life he gave an interview where he basically said that "David Bowie is the costume, the thing onstage is the real Me." In his later career, after he married supermodel Imam and "settled down", he more or less stayed in the Statesman mode. All the while, he stayed impeccably dressed.
He collaborated with artists like Queen, Mick Jagger, Nine Inch Nails, Peter Frampton, Tina Turner, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bing Crosby. Countless artists covered his work. Countless fans adored him. I am not particularly a huge fan, to be honest... I own a couple of his CDs, know many of his hits, but beyond that? There are many others who will write more about him in the coming days, more eloquently and with more knowledge than I can. This, I admit. None of this denies the fact that I know that he was a true Rock Icon, and with his passing the music world is greatly diminished. I also know that he is the musician behind one of my favorite songs of all time.
It felt like David Bowie was immortal. We know now that wasn't true, to our sorrow.
He was a tremendous producer. I wish he would have had the inclination to produce for other acts at some point; or at least more than he did. Music in general would be a lot better off now.
Posted by: Ben at January 11, 2016 09:19 PM (DRaH+)
I'm highly amused that whoever posted that Suffragette City video on YouTube used the cover from a much, MUCH later album (one of the few I own) rather than the actual Ziggy Stardust album (one of the other few I own) cover.
One of the coolest complete weirdos to ever grace the planet.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 12, 2016 08:25 AM (rKFiU)
I Might Start Following Soccer
The Bundesliga is Germany's top-level soccer league... their version of the better known English Premiere League, I suppose. However, they are the only league anywhere of any sort that have an official rubber duck race. The 2015 season was the first, and the
Qualifying round from the Aquadome of Destiny. That frog really shouldn't have been included... it's called the BunDucksLiga for a reason, after all.
The Duck Speedway also hosted the Final Round, which was a more exciting race than anything F1's given us in recent years.
I love how totally serious the announcer was, and the camerawork / on-screen graphics quality is top-notch. Obviously the parent broadcaster must have been involved. Mindblowing.
But wait, there's more... the next season was just announced, with a new twist!
That Was A Laugh I Needed Badly
The job has been kicking my asterisk something fierce of late.
I haven't been feeling all that swell, thanks to the weather we've been having. I've got a nagging ache in my right index finger from when I slipped in the bathtub and jammed it into a broken towel rack trying (successfully) to keep myself from wiping out... the middle knuckle just hurts after a short time on the computer, which in my line of work is something of a Very Bad Thing.
And then when I came home tonight, I managed to get the Duckmobile stuck in what looked like a perfectly clear parking space here at Pond Central. Perfectly clear... except for the patch of ice that was located directly under where the front tires ended up. Did I mention that the Duckmobile is front-wheel drive? Needed a neighbor to give me a shove, but only after a half-hour of scraping and shoveling ALL the residual snow and ice from the spot and getting (literally) nowhere.
So what I'm saying is that I was in a murderous sort of mood when I got home. After doing all the usual stuff I do when I first get home, I hopped online to see if there was anything funny out there. After a while spent getting pissed off because there wasn't, I somehow stumbled across this clip.
That's some impressive vocaling right there, particularly since, y'know, t'ree a 'em ain't singin' whutall they's use'ta singin'. And yes, the humor isn't exactly "Steve Martin in the '70s" level, but what the hell, it made me laugh.
Ducks In Anime: In The Sticks -Non Non Biyori, Ep01 ED
Over at some place or another, a conversation took place concerning "shows that were like ARIA." The general consensus was that, other than YKK, there really aren't any shows like ARIA. That led to me trotting out my theory that the two shows take place in the same universe, but that's not the point of this little missive right now. One series that got a lot of support as feeling like ARIA without being anything like it was Non Non Biyori. I'll be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about the series other than the name, so what the heck, let's give it a shot. After watching the first two episodes, I've come to some general conclusions.
First, that's one darn handsome duck. Second, neh, it's closer in feel to Sketchbook than to ARIA, which is no bad thing in my opinion. Short version of story: Fifth-grader from Tokyo moves to tiny village out in the boonies, joins school that has four other students: 1st, 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. They're all in the same classroom. Hijinks occur languidly.
Third, come for Renge-chan playing the recorder, stay for the scenery porn. Everywhere you look, scenery porn. Languid scenery porn, to be sure, but there nonetheless. Should you watch it? Heck, I dunno... I've only seen two episodes and it's kinda been hit-and-miss for me. Languid scenery porn is nice and all, but something approximating a story would be useful once in a while.
Still... rubber duck in the credits. A+ for effort.
Pardon me boy,
Is this the Lair of Great Cthulhu?
In the city of slime,
Where it is night all the time.
Bob Hope never went
Along the road to Great Cthulhu,
And Triple-A has no maps,
And all the Tcho Tcho's lay traps.
You'll see an ancient sunken city
Where the angles are wrong.
You'll see the fourth demonsion
If you're there very long.
Come to the conventicle,
Bring along your pentacle,
Otherwise you'll be dragged off by a tentacle.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 02, 2016 09:53 PM (2yngH)
This is a firetube boiler, Steven. To steal from that link, "their advantage over flued boilers with a single large flue is that the
many small tubes offer far greater heating surface area for the same
overall boiler volume," thus creating more steam faster.
Or, y'know... Cthulhu.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 03, 2016 07:12 PM (zAcee)
So the firebox is in the rear, next to the cabin. And a mongo impeller pushes hot gases from the firebox through all those pipes, which run through the boiler tank, and ultimately out of the stack at the very front. Is that the idea?
(Actually, if it's like other steam engines, the "impeller" is a jet of steam in the stack which pulls hot gases through those pipes. Right?)
That's actually a clever design. It's too easy a trap to fall into to feel contempt for technologies from a couple of centuries ago, but we should resist that urge. Design engineers from 200 years were just as smart as we are; they just had fewer tools and less materiel to work with than we do.
A Google image search leads to this page (way-back machine). This appears to be the C & O (Chesapeake & Ohio) #3020 in 1948. Three crew members were killed by the steam, including one who managed to get to a nearby farmhouse. The linked page has a nice picture from the opposite side of the train.
Posted by: Rick C at January 04, 2016 05:00 PM (ECH2/)
Yeah, I think I'd agree. Sadly, the first to die lasted 3 hours, if I read that scan correctly, and the guy who crawled away, blinded, to the nearby house, survived until the next morning.
Apparently they rebuilt the engine and put it back into service, but at least one engineer refused to ride on it because it killed people.
Posted by: Rick C at January 04, 2016 06:39 PM (FvJAK)
It looks like there's only a few feet of engine missing, and that would most likely contain the smokebox and maybe a sandbox...I'm wondering if the excess of tubes is actually the superheater tubes blown out of the steam tubes. I don't see how it would be possible, but that just seems like too much tube for how much engine is gone.
Posted by: Ben at January 04, 2016 07:40 PM (S4UJw)
Some of the "spaghetti" might be the rods that help hold the ends of the boiler to the body of the boiler in addition to the rivets.
Had to maintain a fire tube boiler quite a few years ago (1980's).
What is interesting is that the tubes are not welded in, just squished by a rolling tool that fits a couple of inches into the end of the tube and then makes a compression fit between the tube and the boiler end.
Lots of work doing that and replacing the tubes.
Actually the whole boiler system was labor intensive.
Posted by: jon spencer at January 04, 2016 08:07 PM (LtOnR)
So. 2016, Huh?
Thus far, I'm not overly impressed. It's cold, it's windy, the food hasn't been very good and my finger hurts. On the other hand, I went in to work today to make up some hours and there was literally nobody else in my office, and only three or four people from all offices total. Which allowed me to sing along with my music if I so chose. And lo, thus I chose to do!
On the gripping hand, anybody walking past my office is undoubtedly having a substantially worse 2016.
It's cold enough for a hoodie or light coat here in Dallas, but I just got Guild Wars 2 so I don't have any reason to go out except to take the dog out.
Posted by: Rick C at January 02, 2016 12:42 AM (FvJAK)
We're still covered in ice and snow. Still a week until I can get any good work done, probably. Just working my way up the tiers in World of Warships. So far it's been quite enjoyable, although I'm still just using co-op play to grind up the ladder. It looks like it could get quite grind-y before too long.
Rick C: hope you enjoy GW2. I played it from launch through the solo-able end of the original storyline (there's a final dungeon that finishes the story, but is multiplayer only), but dropped it when I came back for the "living story" expansions. They're persistent world is a neat idea, but it also means that if you miss something, the world can get screwed up for you. Not game-breaking or anything, but confusing and a bit unbalanced in places.
Posted by: Ben at January 02, 2016 02:52 AM (S4UJw)
I had, overall, a very nice first day of the year. I'll take what I can get...
GW2: My main problem with it is that with each major update (including, ESPECIALLY, the recent expansion) they make getting The Right Gear an astonishingly unpleasant grindfest. Three years in, and I've still never had a Legendary weapon, for instance. I still enjoy puttering around and joining in with guild events, so, as long as the guildies don't expect me to be a full Berzerker spec whatever, it's all good.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 02, 2016 11:04 AM (rKFiU)