luckykaa: (Default)
2017-09-06 09:26 pm

Grey? Joy!

Another wet day, for another Game of Thrones tour. This is the tour to the Iron Islands and various other locations. This time, our guide was named Brian. Another extra.

We ooohed as we zipped past the set for the Wall (didn't get a good look, sadly). We ahhhed as we saw the hill where the lad was executed in episode 1 (also didn't get close, because it isn't interesting). We did stop at the site where Arya crawled out of the harbour and visited the cave where Mellisandra gave birth to a shadow. Both short stops.

Next was a trip to the Carrick-a-rede. A rope bridge used for throwing unwanted greyjoys off. [personal profile] flickums showed how brave she is by crossing.

Schedule was very tight, so we had to rush back. Sadly the bridge only allows one-way traffic, and we had to wait for ages for people to get photos taken on the bridge... This meant Flick missed a bit of the tour because she didn't get back in time for the next meeting point. I offered to stay but she insisted I go on ahead to see the Baratheon tournament grounds from season 2 (where we meet Brienne) Flick eventually caught up with us before the coach left, and had a short time to admire locations.

Next stop was lunch. The pub had an iron throne, so we sat Flick's direwolf on it and declared it King of the seven kingdoms.

Next we saw the harbour that was used to represent Pike Island. Extremely recognisable. It's mostly 17th century, do the only set dressing they needed to do was thatch some roofs, and hiss the lampposts. Fine was sort though, and we didn't have a lot of time for photos.

This rush did, however, leave a lot of time for dressing up and pretending to be iron islanders on the beach. They had swords and axes and site's. That was fun.

The sure also asked a visit to the giant's causeway. Nothing to do with Game Of Thrones, but it was on the way, and it is fairly magnificent, so we had a stop there. This was one of the places I wanted to see. It's nice. Flick seemed a bit mystified by it all. There is a visitor centre, but that seems a little overpriced, since all people really want to do is see the rock formations. There's no need for the visitor centre at all, and it can easily be bypassed but they make it look like you have to pay.

Once again there was a bit of time pressure. The rule was the bus would return an hour later. Decided to just have a quick look at the causeway and return because I really didn't want to be in a rush again.

Flickums bought me a cuppa to drink while waiting. Bus came about 58 minutes after it had left, and so a few stragglers had to rush for it.

Two more stops. Mostly just photo opportunities of places that had been shot for scenes.

I enjoyed this, but didn't enjoy it as much as the other tour. The guide was spending to much time trying to be funny, and it didn't always come off. And I really felt the time pressure all the time tended to interfere a little.

Still, we enjoyed it and it was a nice way to wrap up the holiday.
luckykaa: (Train)
2017-09-05 06:12 pm

What is thread may never die.

The Ulster Museum has many exciting and interesting exhibits. Probably. We just went there to inspect the tapestry. And distracted only by an Oxfam, we set off.

This particular tapestry is one of the newer exhibits.  77 metres long, it tells us the story so far of A Game Of Thrones. Designed in a manner reminiscent of the Bayeaux Tapestry, it has all the essential events of the last 7 seasons.

So we saw it, thereby catching up with the story. Certainly an impressive achievement. 

We also had a quick look around the museum.  But I wanted to go see the transport museum, so off we went,  distracted only by another charity shop, and an inexpensive cafe where we stopped for food (the museum is next to the university so there's a decent choice of cheap places to eat.

The transport museum is about 6 miles out of town, so one train ride later we were there.

It's not a huge collection but quite nice. There's a range if locomotives and railcars, plus an inspection bicycle. Also some tiny little brewery locomotives. A lot of the trains and coaches have signs inviting us to step aboard, so I did. Flickums had gone of to look at the Titanic exhibit next door. 

One of the things in the Titanic exhibit, but not in the Titanic museum was a selection off artefacts from the wreck. They also had a rivet game where you had to press buttons as soon as they lit up. Hard mode was impossible.

Next room was the transport room. Mostly trams and buses, including a few trolley buses. After that was a display of cars. They had a Delorean (it is Belfast's most famous car after all)! One of the cars was a little single seater "invacar", which seemed to intrigue a couple of American tourists.

Finished off with a visit to the air, land, sea section. Not a lot there but they did have a Short SC1 VTOL experimental aircraft.

I had a nice day. What can I say? I'm a train nerd.
luckykaa: (steamy)
2017-09-04 05:14 pm

A Day To Remember

Belfast has a Titanic Quarter. It contains the Titanic Exhibition centre, Titanic Studios, and Titanic house, amongst other venues named Titanic, that have nothing to do with the ship, except being near whet the ship was launched. One thing that does have a lot to do with it though is Titanic Belfast - the museum dedicated to the Titanic. 

We were stopped at the entrance to take a photo in front of a green screen. We ended up with a nice holiday snap, of us in front of the Titanic. The guy in the photo shop was complementary about Flick's R2D2 bag.

[personal profile] flickums was very brave and went with me on the shipyard ride. A ride in little cars that go around the shipyard exhibit. Flickums was a little scared because they do go write high. She also braved the glass floored display sowing the wreck from above.

Stopped for lunch. Flickums took a bit longer than she might have done because she had to geek about Game Of Thrones with the chap at the Cafeteria, who liked her T-shirt.

The front part was in surprisingly good condition. The back part less so. A helpful guide explained that the front was essentially full of water, and the back half was filed with air, so was crushed like a Coke can. 

The ticket also included a walk around the Nomadic - one of the tender boats that ferried first and second class passengers to the Titanic (third class were mostly kept a safe distance away from the delicate sensibilities of the higher echelons, and were usually transported by a different boat). 

It's nice to look around. Lots of information about the history of the boat.

Returned to town to acquire postcards, and for Flickums to get yet more Game Of Thrones tat.

Much lighter day than yesterday. 

luckykaa: (Game Of Thrones)
2017-09-03 09:49 pm

Walk of Punishment

Our guide on our trip to Westeros was Thorn. A big, ugly, and very nice chap who does Viking re-enactment, and is an extra in the series.

Winterfell itself was fairly unassuming. It is a small tower and a couple of small buildings. The CGI wizards ad more walls and towers and make it look like a castle should look rather than how it does look. Fortunately Thorn was equipped with stills from the show, and could show us the bits that were real. It was a lot less obvious than Dubrovnik, but definitely the same place.

Next we had a bit of a hike along a soggy track, and up a hill to another tower. Did we recognise it? [personal profile] flickums showed her expert knowledge of all things Game Of Thrones, by correctly identifying it as one of The Twins. More walking led us to a hanging tree, and a few other bits of forest previously visited by Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth.

Thorn also pointed out a particular tree that appears in the background a lot. I think I will be noticing that tree a lot in the future.

We stopped for lunch at a pub. I ordered a half-pint if Hodoor, because I felt I had to. Sadly it was a rather uninteresting pilsner. 

Food finished, we were introduced to the direwolves! Thor and Odin, who play Summer Greywind. A huge surprise, since this was not actually advertised as part of the tour, because they can't always come. Flickums squeeled in excitement when it was mentioned we'd be able to meet them. They really are gorgeous dogs. A wolflike breed, with lovely thick grey coats, and a really nice temperament. We would have loved to have taken them home.

We had another brief excursion, where we got to put on cloaks, and pose with swords. Somehow, Flickums managed to get the one with black fur around the collar, and actually she did bear a pretty good resemblance to Jon Snow. Apparently Kit Harrington isn't that much taller (he's a little less than the 5'8" he claims). We went to a ruined abbey, that made a very fitting backdrop.

Last part of the tour was a drive to the forest, and then a mile or so trek to where the first scene of the series was shot, and then to where the Starks see the dead direwolf in episode 1. Another long trek along forest paths this time. It felt a bit of a trek, just to see a small forest clearing and a rock by a stream. Not sure the payoff was really there.

All in all it was a very enjoyable tour. Although we were suffering from very tired feet by the end.

luckykaa: (Travel)
2017-09-02 10:20 pm

Birthday in Belfast

I have a rule that each year, I should spend my birthday in another country. Other parts of the UK do count here, so this year, it's Belfast.

We waited a frustratingly long time in Manchester's budget terminal, before a very short flight in a cute little purple turboprop across the Irish Sea. We caught a taxi, and a very chatty taxi driver took us to our hotel. A fine place, a stone's throw from the city centre.

Only really had a short time, so spent the time wandering around the city getting our bearings, and visiting tourist tat shops. Git add far as Belfast City Hall, before deciding it was time to headback to hotel, and then go for dinner. [personal profile] flickums had found a fantastic little restaurant, and I enjoyed a "Trixie Firecracker" (mainly because it has a name similar to Flick's D&D character) and Trio of Duck. All very tasty. Followed up by heading to a Cuban themed cocktail bar, which seemed popular with Hen Parties... 

Actually there were quite a few Hen Parties, many on those pedal powered mobile bar things that are so popular in touristy cities. 

Decided Cuban bar was a bit loud so went on a hunt dir another. I liked the look of a Victorian themed bar, but it seemed a bit of a dive. Next option was Rita's. Sadly, Flick didn't meet the dress code. Jeans are apparently fine. So is a t-shirt. So it's a hoodie. So are my battered DM's, but light tan coloured boots are "too casual"  

Decided we didn't want to go there anyway, and found another place.

And that was it for the day.

It was a nice birthday
luckykaa: (Travel)
2017-08-17 08:56 am

Farewell to Finland

So I wrap up the holiday. Flight was at 4pm, so that gave me a morning to explore the rest of Helsinki.

Took  more snaps of the station. the ticket hall was open, and they have a lovely model of a Pacific locomotive in a glass case.

Went to the Moomin shop. I was hoping to buy socks for Flickums, but apparently Finns do not have Euro size 38 feet.

Ambled around some more. They have vintage tram rides on Saturdays and Sundays, but it was Wednesday.

Decided to go into the city museum. It's free. They had a nice history of the city since the 1930's. This included various recreations of rooms and things in the city, and a VR "time machine" that allowed you to switch between VR views of today and the past.

Had a look at the Penrose Tile paving on Keskuskatu. Uses a fixed set of tiles but has no translational symmetry.

So that was Helsinki. Train back to the airport was uneventful. There was a strike for the previous 2 days but that had ended by this point. Flight flew without incident. Landed about 3 hours later.

I certainly liked Helsinki. The day trip to Tallinn was also very much worth it.

I consider this holiday a success!
luckykaa: (Travel)
2017-08-15 08:42 pm

Rock, sea, air.

There's more than a day's worth of stuff to do in Helsinki in the summer. I just did the highlights. Essential stop was Suomenlinna. Another UNESCO world heritage site, and like all the others, well worth the visit. 

The regular Helsinki travel pass is accepted on the ferry. Since I have a 2 day pass, that made it free. There's also no charge for entry to the island, so it's possible to see most of the actual fortress for free. They charge for the museums, and there are several to choose from, so I felt I should look at the military museum. Quite small, but interesting. Also had some army clothes people were encouraged to try on. I grabbed a passing tourist to take my picture. The ticket also allowed entry to the submarine. So cramped. Must have been horrible servings in one.

Got to the end of the recommended route, and, since this was by the sea, took my shoes off and dipped my toes in. It's pretty cold, but I imagine it's swimmable-in.

Returning, I looked at online guides and was told to look at the cathedral (the Lutheran one), the other cathedral (the Orthodox one), but only really wanted to take a couple of snaps. Cathedrals don't interest me hugely. The "Rock Church" was a lot more interesting. Built in 1968, and carved right out of the bedrock. Inside, the walls are rough rock. Water trickling through is directed to special ducts. Light comes in through a skylight (part of the structure, including part of the roof is concrete). Rather than bells, a recording is played. The place is really quite tranquil.

Met the chap who joined us on the trip to Tallinn as I left. I shall refer to him henceforth as Uncle Jim. I told him I was going to an overpriced bar with a good view of the city. He felt it sounded interesting, so I invited him along. 

The Ateljee bar is on the top floor of the Torni hotel. The hotel itself is lovely, with an art deco style to the lobby. The lift took us up to the 12th floor, and then a narrow winding staircase took us to the bar. Was a little worried that Uncle Jim might struggle (he's no spring chicken, and had mentioned minor leg complaints), but he didn't seem to have a problem.  

The view is indeed wonderful. Helsinki is not a high rise city. Most of the taller buildings are 6 stories or so, so a 13th floor observation deck allows views right across the city. The beer was expensive, but since I've paid a lot more just to visit an observation tower before, I'm not complaining. And the view was worth it.

Ended the day with an island tour and dinner. There is a selection of tour boats with restaurants. So there's a tour around the island and decent food. I found sitting in the back section of the boat meant I couldn't hear the commentary over the engine noise, so after a while I shifted to the front. Honestly, the commentary seemed a little abstract. The tour was Imperial Russia themed, so focussed on the period where Finland was ruled by Russia, but it didn't seem all that connected to what we were seeing for the most part. 

We did pull aside another boat from the same line at one point It seemed they'd run out of beer. After a failed attempt, the other boat went round again, and the resupply mission completed, we carried on.

The boat arrived back at dock, and I left. Wandered around a little more. Wanted to see the station and admire it's late Jugend architecture.

Flight back tomorrow. Not sure if I have time to see more. 
luckykaa: (Travel)
2017-08-14 09:24 pm

Tallinn or bust

One of the many nice things about Helsinki is how well connected it is to it neighbours. A day trip to Tallinn, Estonia is easily achievable. I found two friends to join me, and they found another.

We set sail on a somewhat packed ferry, but one with enough space to sit, and to mill around, get food if so desired.

Tallinn old city is a walled city with a whole mishmash of history going back 1000 years, with independence movements, invasions, wars and a whole shebang of other upsets. The walls, however, remain standing, and the city itself is very pretty. Like a lot of these places, the old city within the walls is really quite small. A 10 minute walk from one side to the other. 

Since we only had a day, we spent most of our time just looking at places and admiring how pretty it was. I went my own way at one point and find that there was a good view of the city and a pleasant walk past what was the moat - now a lake - through a park, before climbing all the way back up to the top of the hill the city was built on. The effort is rewarded by the most amazing view across the harbour. And there's a nice bar not far away that does local craft beer.

A lovely city, and the gorgeous sunny weather really brought out the best of the place.

Wandered back and had a look at a large concrete construction. Huge, ugly, and inaccessible, although possible to walk over since it has steps over the top. Turns out this was Linnahall. Soviet Era (obviously, given the brutalist architecture) sport and concert venue. Looks ugly as sin, but photos of it make it look less unpleasant when it was open. One thing I do like is it seems to be hangout area for teenagers where they can go and not disturb anyone. One guy was meditating. A few people were playing music. Plenty were just hanging out. 

We could only spend so much time there though, as we had to catch a ferry back. A faster service, but it's a catermeran, with crummy airline style seeing, next to no outside deck space, except an "observation deck", which was a small square area from which the outside was visible, just, but not a pleasant place to sit and relax as the sea flies by. More like a prison exercise yard.

Still, not to worry. It got us back to Helsinki. 

Last full day tomorrow. Time to see the city itself.

luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-13 10:11 pm

Day 5: Con ends here.

Last day started with a game of "Goth Court". A lightweight roleplay game where players take the party of plaintiffs, defendants and court for  small claim actions in court. One character was horrified that her hairdresser had dyed her hair black as a midnight forest, when she wanted black as a raven's wings. Another was a vampire (played by me) who took a Vampire The Masquerade LARP a little too seriously. I really had good fun. And people liked my vampire, which was nice. Especially when I was complimented by a lady who was really good at character stuff.

After this was the masquerade show and tell, and that was followed by the being unable to get into the panel, then the unexpectedly moved to an earlier slot panel. A little disappointing. 

Did listen to a bit of the European Comics panel, but it was a little tricky to get much out of it given it was mostly a floor discussion and I don't know a lot about the subject.

The convention ended with the closing ceremony, as is traditional, and I headed to the Dead Dog Party (the traditional post con chill out and chat session)

More queues. 

Once again, they underestimated how popular thus would be.

Decided instead to head to the pub crawl. A much more easy going affair. Venue#1 was a pub with a fantastic selection of international beers. Venue #2 was a microbrewery. Venue #3 was a decent Finnish bar. I decided to retire after that. I was suitably merry and wanted to poke my head into the Dead Dog Party. Had calmed down by this point.

And as ever, I get to the end of the con, and want more time there.

I think I'll go to the con in Dublin. They can be frustrating arty tines, but I do seem to enjoy Worldcons.

luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-12 10:31 pm

Day 4; to seek out new life and new civilisation...

This was a day of fan meetings. The first was the Star Trek meet, where we sat in a big circle and introduced ourselves because we're Star Trek fans and believe in strength through unity.

Later on was a B5 fan meet where we split into smaller groups because B5 is all about factions.

More talks. The Star Wars one was ludicrously over-attended. But I did hear about Kjell Lindgren's experience on the International Space Station, and attended a talk on meaningful choices in interactive fiction. 

Masquerade was in the evening. Am impressive number of entries, some were very good. There was a brilliant Cylon Centurion, Skeletor, Bicycle Repair Man, Doctor Strange, Kirk and Spock, and a whole lot more. And an opportunity to take photos after. The fan photo session is very well run, but I really wish they were clearer about where and when this happens. They did have a director to direct people with suggested poses.  

Decided not to stick around for judging. That takes forever. After all, really I don't care who wins. I know what I liked, and really, all of them were pretty good.


luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-11 10:33 pm

Worldcon day 3: Space! The final frontier

Worldcon finds some spare space! It was hidden under the convention centre all along.

The new rooms were suitably vast. Two new rooms, with easily enough space for 500 people (although fairly close to full at that). Didn't have any problem getting in to anything I wanted.

Went to see some demo scene stuff, and learned that people are still developing Amiga and even C64 demos. Some pretty funky stuff, including a very nice Ray traced demo (which I think was in the 4k category), and an Amiga demo - although that one was on an '060. No doubt there are some demos that run on a stock A500.

Someone was denigrating a VR fly through of their novel setting. Basically a rollercoaster ride in VR which can be a bit disconcerting with the desire to  lean into curves.

Day ended with the Hugo Awards. I think this is one if the least comfortable auditoriums I've seen. It was a pretty good show. Some nice acceptance speeches. Ursula Vernon told us about whale fall in one of the most bizarre but fascinating acceptance speeches for any award ever. I do have mixed opinions about the Hugos. While it's fun to watch, I have a slight sense of the serious fans and writers seeing the Hugo Awards as their thing, and being a bit cliquey about it. I think they all went to their own party after the awards.

Chin had picked up what with having all the extra space. Look forward to day 4

luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-10 10:23 pm

Day 2: queue con.

The illustrated hardback edition of A Game Of Thrones is pretty heavy. I know this because I was lugging it around all morning just so I could get it autographed for [personal profile] flickums . 

Since nothing was happening the session before, I decided to join the queue early. It had already starting to get quite long. I'd actually stopped by at about 10:30 (signing starts at 2pm) and there were already a dozen or so people waiting, but no matter how much I adore Flickums, I'm not waiting that long.

So eventually the signing started, I got to the front if the line, and George R R Martin said nice thinks about Flickums' book (it is very nice). He signed the book. Sent a photo to Flickums. Flickums seemed happy.

Actually got into some panels this time. One on cosplay history, one on geocaching, and one on rpgs. Although I did need to queue for a couple of them. 

More parties. More queuing. This time for drinks. The Chinese science fiction group had a nice party though. Rather professionally done. Milled around and chatted a bit but my heart wasn't in it. Did chat to a nice local fan on the way home though.

My feet are tired from standing in queues all day. I think I'll need to spend more time sitting around.

luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-10 03:26 pm

Worldcon 75. Make room! Make room!

 I'm here for the Finnish Worldcon. Duo far I've been to about 4 panels and
presentations, and failed to get into about 10. 69 people is to few for the potential audience of almost any talk. I did get into the Lies of Locke Lamora panel (seating for 45) though, through dint of turning up half an hour early. I had no idea about the books, but have learned that I should consider them to be romance tragedy rather than medieval comedy. 

Also went to a presentation on theatrical makeup.

And that was about it for scheduled items.

Meet up with many friends, which is always nice, but was tired, so decided to head back to hotel to chill. 

Time zone was messing me up a bit. At about 9, I was feeling suitably chilled out, and since my brain was on UK time, and insisting it was only about 7pm, returned to con for parties. Glad I did. Met a really awesome cosplayer dressed as Finland from Scandinavia And The World. There was also a Denmark, Canada, England, and apparently Iceland and King Europe.

Opinion so far, nice enough, but needs way more function space!


Really need a Finland icon.

luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-08 06:43 pm

More house hunting

It's been a busy day. Flew off to Finland at 17:50, the day after returning from Nineworlds.

Since I had the morning free, I'd arranged to book some more house viewings.

First house we have tentatively named Corner House. Really messy neighbours. On the plus side, quite cheap, with two large bedrooms and a box room that could hold a bed if really needed but is destined to become a study, or a Flickums-cave. It had a really good kitchen though. Not perfect, but cheap enough to compensate for any drawbacks. A lick of paint would really improve things.

Next up was "B&B house". To end of our price range. Looked lovely from the photos. Turned out to be surprisingly small. The owners were really making an effort to sell the place though. Pillows piled up on the bed (like a top quality guest house - hence its name). High end appliances we tastefully arranged on the kitchen surface. The owners were clearly trying to sell a lifestyle. Sadly the only thing really going for it was a conservatory. We were initially worried we'd fall in love with it, but it was so pokey.

Final house was a bit of an outlier. Worth looking at because it was late and cheap. Was a bit worried about how close it was to the motorway. And yes, the noise outside was terrible. It was also very much in need of some TLC. Flickums suggested it looked like the setting for a Stephen King novel. The Estate Agent arrived, and it was the first time he'd seen the place. I don't think he had high hopes  of making a sale. I think it's really one of those "investment properties"

Might go for Corner House. We have time to think about it.

Had enough time for a haircut and to phone my mum and wish her a happy birthday. Had a cup of tea, and then it was fine to fly!

Flickums saw me off at the airport, and now I'm checked into a pokey, but probably adequate Finnish hotel.

Worldcon here I come!
luckykaa: (Default)
2017-08-08 05:23 pm

(no subject)

I did rather enjoy Nineworlds. Aspects of it have a way of riling me up, but I've learned to avoid those aspects.

Went to a talk on writing licenced works. Interesting, but heavily focused on how to enter the field yourself.

There was a brilliant panel on creating virtual worlds. The key thing I took from it was that you can make virtual woods easily at aframe.io

Spent Sunday morning playing Lovecraftesque. A GM-less gaming system where we create an elaborate horror story. That was a lot of fun.

The creators had a panel on how to publish my own RPG system, as long as I'm willing to work for less than minimum wage... I do feel that a lot of the people who launch projects on kickstand lack the business savvy needed. The above game retails for £30 for the published version, which seems a lot for a small hardback book. There is a cheaper pdf version, but that sends expensive too. I just don't feel I can justify the cost.

Saturday evening I skipped out. A school friend was having his birthday party a manageable distance away. Since he normally lives in Switzerland, I felt I could make the effort. And I had a lot of fun. Felt I had to leave a little early because this was in Bognor Regis, and I was staying in London. The train back read the Katy train. Lots of dunk people who had been to the races. And for some reason we took the scenic route back, along the south coast. In hindsight, I should have stayed at my parents'.

Some really good cosplay including Lemmings, Sam Vimes and Sybil Ramkin, and Squirrel Girl. Really wish I'd done some costuming. Think I will next year.




luckykaa: (Default)
2017-07-27 10:51 am

Property is theft...

And as an unashamed capitalist, I'm planning to get on the theft ladder.

This is the house I'm after.

I liked the man attic. And the heaps of parking space outside. I also liked that it's opposite one of Manchester's nicer parks. The busy road, and not having a bath are minor concerns, but the large walk-in shower mitigates that one.

So I put in an offer, and it was accepted!

And now I get all panicky and stressed... I have to sort out a mortgage. Which means I need to work out how much I want to put down for a deposit, how long I want the mortgage term for, and so on. I do want a little extra money for a rainy day and enough for a nice car for a sunny day. Actually paying somewhat less mortgage than I'm currently paying rent would be nice.

Going to see the place again. I need the [personal profile] flickums nod of approval, and want to check on things that people have told me to check on.

My god! I'm going to be a homeowner! This sounds scarily like adulting!

luckykaa: (Default)
2017-07-16 05:01 pm

Text Adventure Time.

I've been looking at text adventure scripting systems recently. It appears that most games are written using Inform, or TADS. Inform is interesting. It uses a natural language approach. So a program looks something like this:
The Warehouse is a room. A box is a closed openable container inside The Warehouse. instead of opening the box, say "It's taped shut"
Which is great. Another plus is the IDE. It has a tile for developing, and another tile for Documentation of running the game; and also provides some tools to tell you everything that's defined in the game. The tutorial goes through things at a steady pace, and has some helpful examples; with IDE integration; so the examples can be copied to the main page with just a click. The natural language system understands a lot of concepts. For example I can say "if going into the ballroom for the third time...", "a bottle is a type of container. A bottle is usually opaque" It doesn't always work as expected. For example, if I write:
inside the warehouse is a box and a cat.
things work fine.If, on the other hand, I say:
inside the warehouse is a container called the box and an animal called a cat.
we get a container called "the box and an animal called a cat." The other problem is that the documentation is limited. There is a tutorial, and a "cookbook", but no reference manual. I want to know if the verb "cut" exists, and what it does by default. I'd also like a list of the basic properties and rules. This doesn't seem to exist. TADS is a much more programmer oriented language. Looks a little more like this:
hallway: Room 'Hallway' "This hall is pretty bare, but there are exits to west and south. " south = startRoom west = study ;
So perfectly readable. Might be worth switching.

Downside I see is that the IDE isn't as good for learners. I don't have the screen real-estate for a separate help window. I could always use my tablet as a help screen. Doesn't allow copy-pasting though.  Also wondering if it has the ease and flexibility. Might give it a go but I feel I should at least get to the end of the inform tutorials.
luckykaa: (Travel)
2017-07-10 05:41 pm

♫ Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ♫

The sun was shining. And there was a demo of the Ubisoft VR game at Blackpool's Star Trek Exhibition. I trip to Blackpool was on the cards.

First stop was the Star Trek Exhibition. Mostly this is a collection of props, and some history of the show. There are a few interactive exhibits, including a thing where you can record a video of yourself beaming down. Also the bridge section where you can put on a Star Trek shirt and get photos.

This weekend, Ubisoft was promoting their Star Trek VR game on the bridge. We had a go. [personal profile] flickums  was captaining. It was a little difficult to work out what was going on. There were people there to demo it, but since we had headphones on, it wasn't easy to work out what they were saying. VR takes a little getting used to. Having someone else's body there is a little disconcerting.

So, we flew around a bit, beamed some people up, found another spaceship, rescued the survivors, and then destroyed it (we were meant to do this - we had orders). Sadly, we were a bit too close to the other ship, and our shields were down, so we almost destroyed our own ship. Oops. We decided to bail while the ship was on fire.

Had lunch at a pirate themed restaurant.

Next stop was Blackpool Tower. This starts with the "4D experience", which is basically a 3D movie, with random water sprayed at you at various intervals, and puffs of air from behind you. After that, you're allowed up in the lift. They have windows so you can see blackpool. Poor Flickums found this a little scary. At top they have glass floors. Flickums found this absolutely terrifying, but showed how brave she can be, by stepping on the glass. The tower has several levels so we went up to the top to see the view from there.

Had tea at the base of the tower. Went to the sea. Went for a paddle. There seemed to be some jellyfish in the sea.

Also this weekend was a car show. Some gorgeous cars, including a couple of AC Cobras. And some vintage cars like the Austin 6s. Took lots of photos.

We also took a ride on the heritage tram. Apparently Blackpool has a selection that they wheel out at the weekends. This time we had an open-top boat shaped tram that sails up and down the coast -  This took us to the pleasure beach. The big fairground at one end of Blackpool. Not really enough time to go in, so we went back and tried the pier instead. Flickums bought me an ice cream!

And that was Blackpool. Lots of fun. Plenty more to do if we want to go again. We probably should do.
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
2017-06-27 05:30 pm

House buying

I don't understand estate agents. Or the property market in general.

Okay - firstly, houses are next to unaffordable for anyone without a fairly high income. This is something that is often remarked on.

So I call an estate agent. He wants to know if I can view the place tomorrow at 2pm. Well, not really. You see, I have a job that I have to go to in order to earn money in order to buy a house. Is this an unusual situation? Do most house buyers not have jobs?

Last viewing is at 5pm. But that's taken. Presumably by one of those other weirdos with a job.

Well, at least they do weekends.

Sure there must be a better way to buy a house though.
luckykaa: (Default)
2017-06-24 12:03 pm

Wigwam in the Lake District

I received a trip to the lake district for my birthday. 2 nights in a wigwam, near Pooley Bridge in Cumbria.

It's a lovely part of the country. All so green, and so much space. And the weather was lovely! Checked into a cosy wigwam. Lovely little place. Bed in the corner, two ring cooker suitable for bacon sandwiches, and a table and chairs, as well as a picnic table outside.

Poor [personal profile] flickums  had a bit of a cold all weekend. Still, like a trooper, she made an effort to enjoy herself. We drove around a bit. Saw a sign for Mayburgh Henge. Saw another sign for King Arthur's round table. We went back there a few days later. King Arthur's round table turned out to be a neolithic earthwork Henge. Basically a round mound. Mayburgh henge was a rock in the middle of a round mound. A slightly more interesting henge.

There's a lot of King Arthur stuff in the area. He seems to have lived pretty much everywhere in England, and possibly part of Wales. Sometimes I suspect he may never have existed at all.

We had a trip on the Ullswater steamers as part of the package. A small flotilla of passenger boats zips up and down the lake, taking people
between Pooley Bridge and Glenridding. Had a look around Glenridding. the Lake district has a lot of small villages with lots of gift shops.

The final part of the package was a ride on the Ravenglass & Eskdale railway. This is a narrow gauge railway, that goes from the middle of nowhere, to 7 miles further on. Surprisngly long way away from the campsite where the wigwam was, considering it was part of the same package. But after 80 minutes driving, we arrived. There was a playground, so flickums was happy. There was a restored singal box that I got to look at so I was happy.

The far terminus is a short walk from the village of Boot, where there was a working watermill, but sadly, the mill showed no signs of being open, apart from a sign saying there was a small fee for admission. The other direction from Boot Village was Dalegarth falls. I went on a trek up there. Wasn't quite sure what I was looking for though. Was a pleasant stroll by the river, but a bit further and I would have found a proper waterfall. Sadly, at that point I was getting a little bored being stuck behind a slow moving family and wanted to get back. Trip back was in an indoor carriage because it was a bit cold and breezy.

Was so nice to get away for a few days. Might have to do something similar again next year.