Dec 28, 2011

About that flying thing....

I realise that the premise of this blog was to be an account of my flying adventures and WoW shenanigans. I gave up the WoW (two whole months clean!) and have hit a bit of a snag with the flying.

The last entry I made after flying was my last proper commercial navigation flight. I have done one since and plan to do another soon but they are just going to be recency flights so I can keep my skill up.

Reason being is actually a little nugget of wisdom from a flight instructor. I cannot for the life of me remember what the exact wording is but it went along the lines of "Unless you can do it regularly, you are wasting your money at this point in your training."

Yes, it was crushing to hear. Unfortunately, I can understand why this is true. I spent so much time off from flying last year that my skills in commercial level navigation dropped significantly. When I started back flying this year, I did not account for the drop in skill so it came as a little bit of a rude shock when I jumped in the plane with an instructor and found that I just was not up to scratch. It knocked a rather large hole in my boat and it was filling up with water fast, so to speak.

It seems to be a common problem with those of us who do not come with a large trust account or rich parents. I met a guy at a friends party on Boxing Day and had a long (abliet drunk) discussion about the joys, trials and tribulations of flying. He has met a similar problem that I have. Commercial Nav exercises are bloody expensive to be able to do at the pace which is required. He did not get as far as I did, only being able to just get past his private ticket. Matt has been out of currency for the last 4 years which is really sad to see. He met the point of moving on with his life, to come back to his education at a later date when he is better set up to be able to meet the burden of paying for flying tuition.

Even TVSA (who do pilot training through FEE-HELP) want me to finish my commercial training before I move down there to study with them. It is giving me the shits at the moment!

So I have been concentrating on getting the rest of my life sorted out at the moment. The last three years have been more or less a suicide run at trying to force it through. Done through borrowed money and whatever is left after my bills have been paid. It has no doubt been an amazing and life changing journey and I would never change a damn thing for the world, neither is this the end of that journey. This is just a detour.

The flying will resume and with the GoPro camera, I will do more and more flying videos. One will be made every time I go for a flight, even if they are a little boring. I have a couple of 4wding videos to finish cutting together as well but trying to handle 10 hours of video and cut it down into a 5 min video is a little harder  than I thought. Not to mention this old computer is woefully inadequate for the task at hand!

My research to build a new one has finally come to a close. I know exactly what I want and I even have the slightly cheaper alternative also. In short I want to build a system around a GTX590 graphics card and an Intel i7 3930k CPU. That system is going to cost me around the 2.8k mark. If I change out the Motherboard, RAM and CPU to ones which suit an i7 2600k it brings it back to about the 2.2k mark. Both rather expensive options but needed for Diablo 3, video editing and triple screen Flight Simulator. I already have the screens for it too!
So that is most of the important stuff happening at the moment. I will leave you with the last flying video I made back in October.

Dec 24, 2011

Skyrim keeps on suprising me *SPOILERS*

SO I have finished the main questline and am faced with a choice. Kill a certain someone who has been nothing but helpful during the main quest line and have the blades back on side, or leave him alive and keep the Greybeards on side.

Usually when it comes to killing things in game, my moral compass is set to swing axe first, ask questions later. I like killing things, they give you loot rewards and makes you feel like the invicible badass you really are.

When I got the quest, I thought I could talk my way out of it and come out friends with everyone. Alas, this was overly optimistic and I found that I had to one or the other. I decided to do nothing and the Blades barely talk to me, the giant pricks. Once Alduin had met his end, I thought I would just suck it up and see how she went. So a Dragonrend, some wards and a couple axe swings later (and the awesome kill sequence), this (former) helper laid at my feet, dead.

I felt terrible.

Not only had this NPC helped me through my journey to kill the World Eater, he was wise enough to  understand the Blades point of view. Even agree with them on a level. It sounded like a well rationalised argument and even the Greybeards more or less said that the Blades were just overzealous dicks. Made them sound like the Thalmor (who I really detest and kill on sight).

I googled this and it seems that the moral dilemma is not unique to my own experience. Many people like this guy and have even gone as far as to say the Blades should die for being ignorant dicks. This is a community who are usually bent towards the "swing axe now, ask questions later" mantra I live by in game. Some even go so far as to mod the children so they can be killed too. Yet this noble NPC has made us pause and consider the kill and think about the morality of it. IF every NPC was as helpful, would it be as fun to clean out an entire town of its occupants??

It really suprised me the depth and the scope of this moral dilemma in a virtual world where killing is the norm and sentiment is rarely seen (except maybe for your favourite axe). On one hand, it makes me want to have more depth in the game so that I can talk out situations like these and form an alliance between the two factions. On the other hand, it is very true to life- some groups are unwavering in their wrong beliefs and those who are the victims of those wrong beliefs want no harm to come to the aggressors. It is just another aspect of this beautiful world that Bethesda have created for us. I can honestly say that I cannot get enough of exploring it. I would have put in 70 or 80 hours over the past month and I have only just finished the two main quest lines. There is a lot to go!

I think I am going to let him live for now. I need to have a really bad day to swing my moral compass towards "serial killer" before I can bring myself to bring my axe down on his head.

Dec 6, 2011

Videos, Skyrim, Xmas, Work -.-

Ok it has been a couple of months since my last entry. I left it on a little bit of am emo note too. Uncool of me I know! But a lot has been happening in the last couple of months. Namely work and Skyrim.

Skyrim is taking over my life in a way I can only equate to WoW. I never got this into Oblivion. I did with Morrowind however. I love how I can just strike out and make an adventure. I have walked across most of the map now and haven't finished either of the main questlines. The only ones I have completed to date are the Companions (just last night) and the Winterhold College.

I must say that I am rather disappointed in how short those two quest lines were. I was expecting more. At least with Oblivion's faction quests you had to travel to each city to earn rep with that chapter before becoming the Chief (Ie the mages guild - they are the laziest bastards....). I guess there are probably more quests I am yet to discover by talking to all of the people Jorrvaskr or the College but for the most part they seem to be little side quests without a lot of story impact.

Also a little disappointed with turning into a Werewolf. It is certainly awesome but it is way too easy to be overwhelmed and killed. If you have not tried it out yet- do not even bother turning into one unless you are hunting people (not Draugr, beasts or anything). People are the only ones you can consume to increase both your health and your time in Beast Form. So if you think for one moment you will be able to ROFLSTOMP your way through a dungeon full of Draugr and spiders- think again! You will soon be utilising the sprint ability to preserve the last sliver of health until such time as you change back into your regular form!

Aside from those two little gripes, I love the game and have not had (noticable) issues with any of the bugs people are claiming ruin the play experience. Just epic dragon killing, axe wielding, fireshooting awesomeness. There is one "bug" I hope stays in the game because it is hilarious though. When I first found a giant's camp, I immediately wanted to take them on. I thought they would have some epic loot (turns out their loot is pretty crappy) and so I thought a couple of bowshots, a few swings of the axe and they would fall over dead.


I took a tree/club to the face as soon as I closed to melee range with the first one. Then I was flying across the map. I laughed my ass off and it didn't get old! Well no-one LIKES being killed but if I was to be killed, I would hope that it would look as awesome as taking a treeclub to the face and flying off into the atmosphere! Things like this add to the fun aspect of the game, even if they are unintended. Those who say it destroys the immersion and the experience can just go and start adventuring IRL for all I care! It isn't a simulator- it's a game!

I did manage to get my beloved Super Mega Edition of the game. There will be documenting photos coming in a seperate post. Courtesy of the online ordering from EbGames, I managed to get one of the few bundles left and now have Anduin staring menacingly at me from my bookshelf as I butcher his brethren throughout Skyrim's landscape. Sometimes multiple at a time.

I do love how they have redone the combat in the game now. I use more spells and archery than I ever have before! In my epic battle against two dragons, I would have become dinner were it not for dual casting healing spells through flame breath! I find myself constantly using spells so that I can level up their respective schools and make them more efficient but it just takes so long! Extra armour, Wards, Shields, Damage spells - that is where the fun is! I rarely use magelights or crap but anything to make me last longer in combat is fine by me! It is where I put all of my talent points. Oh and smithing. I am determined to finally make myself a set of dragonscale armour and a set of dragonplate for my offsider.

Lydia didn't last too long unfortunately. She had this awkward habit of getting the the way of my attacks and well... she got cooked with a bunch of Vampires I was flaming... at the time I just shrugged it off and figured I would get a new one from the Jarl next time I was in town. Then I forgot about her until I was crawling through Mzulft during the College questline. By the time I found out that I couldnt get Lydia back (or replace her) it was too late to revert to an earlier save. So I made three or four trips out of the bloody place laden down with Dwarven metal which I melted down into bars. I picked up some dude I beat in a fistfight instead. He seems to be better at not dying and not getting in my way. Plus if he dies, I have to lug out an entire set of Orcish Armour and his weaponry which I crafted and improved for him! I will be pissed....

On other fronts, my collection of tech for flying is almost completed! I just got my 32gb SD card and a few more accessories to get for my GoPro and I will be ready for anything! I want to get my Aero rating done soon so I can (legally) make a video of it and post it up here. Its going to be sweet!! The unfortunate thing is that I have realised that even with two jobs, I cannot earn enough, fast enough to do proper Navs to finish off my CPL. I haven't had another Nav in nearly two months because the stress of watching the money tick away with the VDO is killing my performance! Its terrible and I know I should be doing better. Hopefully a few job opportunities come to fruition and I will hit the ground running again!