Posted in Second Life

Second Life: Halloween Cottage 2021

Last year, I wrote about the Halloween decorations I added to my Second Life Cabin on my main account. This year, my setup there was fairly much identical, so there wasn’t anything new to show.

However, I was too tempted by the new Fantasy themed houses when they came out in SL this year, and ended up picking one up for my alt, Amon. I have it all nicely decorated in his personality/style, and I’ve been meaning to post a walk-through of it.

But that will have to wait, it seems. Now the Cottage is decorated for Halloween!

That account doesn’t have a lot of Linden dollars stashed away, so I decided that I was going to visit the Second Life Halloween Shop N Hop to partake of decorations I could find in the free gifts that nearly every vendor puts out there.

That’s not to say I didn’t buy a few items at the shop, but only two of the decorations I’ll show here were purchased. The rest were freebies – very nice ones!

This is a combination of a number of items in the front yard. First, there’s the grave that has bats spawning around it, what looks to be a golden spider (?) on top and a ghost mourning the grave in that white mist. Hard to see unless you’re moving around it in person.

There’s bouncy spiders dangling from the big tree as well as a spider sack hanging from it. Who knows what is in there!

Some nice decorations near the front stoop including a wicked jack o lantern and some poison apples. I’ll probably keep the standard bales and pumpkins out through Thanksgiving.

On the front stoop we have more jack o lanterns and a really nice sparkly spiderweb. This came in a pack of nice webs much like this one and they look great at night!

As you walk into the house’s entry way

These pictures were the only two decorations I actually bought. They are very impressive! They start out as nice paintings and then morph into spooky images that move quite well! I had to get the two of them when I saw them – they were also nicely priced.

The other side of the entry way includes a fancy bat container, jazzy silver pumpkins and a welcoming skeleton.

In the music room… Well, the music room always looks like this. Except for the orange crystal swan, which was the Halloween item. I’m not sure how crystal swans mesh with Halloween, even when orange, but I like the piece and will probably leave it out year round. It’s just the kind of thing Amon would put in his music room.

In the living room, I picked up this cute little Happy Halloween decoration for the coffee table.

And also…

Various decorations for the small bookshelf. The sleeping cat was a gift from one of my favorite shops, Jian. I like that the cat and the pillow can change colors, so you can make them look Halloweeny for a while, and then change them to normal colors when it’s not Halloween anymore. I can see myself keeping this out year round, too.

Back in the music room, the tea tray has a murderous little visitor – a raven sitting on a skull with a knife in its beak. I dunno. Thought it was well-made and this was the best place I could find for it.

And the final shot, not decoration at all. The Jinx shop is giving out a free companion (as they tend to) which is a little witchy sheep. She bounces along with you as you walk and has several really cute animations.

I had a great time at the Shop N Hop and came away with much more than this in free gifts for decorating the Cottage. I just didn’t have the prims to put all of it out there!

Once Halloween is over, I’ll get some shots of what the Cottage looks like normally and write a post about that.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Moogle Treasure Trove Event Starts October 19!

Just in time to tide you over for the Endwalker release, we have the much awaited Moogle Tomes event. At least, I was much awaiting it.

This time around, we’re getting the new cosmetic – Inferno Jacket – which was a reward for the three FFXIV Community Teams unlocking all 104 Blue Mage spells back in July.

On top of that, you can earn the mounts:

  • Auspicious Kamuy Fife
  • Dark Lanner Whistle

To add to your bird and dog collections if you don’t already have them.

The Modern Aesthetics – Styled for Hire hairstyle is up for grabs, previously only obtainable from PVP with 18,000 Wolf Marks. This was a hairstyle I was working towards back when it first released, but then lost steam in the PVP dailies.

And as a neat little addition, the Bonewicca casting set is up for grabs – a much-coveted chestpiece with a nice little Halloween flair. I know I’ll be snagging some of this for Amon for sure.

You can earn these tomes various ways – Praetorium is the long run, but it nets you 10 tomes each run. Some folks prefer to PVP for it. It also looks like the Crystal Tower Trio is the Alliance Roulette of choice this time around.

I’m going to be seeing a LOT of Praetorium because I need many of these rewards on both Ben and Amon. Yikes! But at least I can run some of it in a Halloween costume! πŸ™‚

For more info on what to run and the full rewards list, check out the official page here!

Have fun!

Posted in No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky: Settlements, Flying Mounts, More!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks since the Posse has gotten into near nightly NMS exploration lately. This started because Syn and I had picked it up again to see what was new, and when we talked about it, Vix and Xaa became interested in trying it out. Just a fluke, but the game suddenly went on sale for half off on Steam a couple days after, so they picked it up.

I pre-ordered NMS back in the day and played it quite a bit at launch. I was not one of the folks who were unhappy with the state of the game in those days – I hadn’t followed news of it before release and didn’t really have any expectations as to what it should be. I had some constructive feedback (most of which has been fixed by now), but overall, I enjoyed it.

I’ve popped back into it every now and then, but I never actually got all that far into the game’s questlines. The game felt quite large and overwhelming due to this, but Syn and I try to play it every now and then.

Even though I didn’t write about it, I think we started dabbling in the game sometime back in November of last year. We found a nice Paradise planet and set up bases near to each other. Trying to play it multiplayer got us all sorts of grief, however. There are far too many buggy things that happen (and shouldn’t happen) if you’re grouped up with someone and trying to go through quest lines.

Buggy Multiplayer

For example, there was a time when Syn couldn’t tame a pet on our home planet no matter how she tried. Until I disconnected from her game, then she had no problem.

Another example, when the settlements quest popped up for me, the game pointed me to the exact same location that it had sent Syn for her settlement, which she’d already claimed. Reading up on that, I discovered that had I tried to claim her site after she’d already claimed it, it could have bugged settlements for the both of us.

Instead, I just had to warp far, far, FAR away and use my navigational data to purchase a map to a new settlement. Then the quest found a different location for me and we were both able to “happily” serve the whims of a financially failing establishment and attempt to make it a better place to live.

The Posse meeting up in the Anomaly

Since then, we’ve all come to play the game solo for the most part. We sometimes connect on multiplayer to share a location, see a base, or to do missions from the Anomaly. But for our normal gameplay, we just keep it solo while connected on Discord for questions and communication, and that seems to work.

Settlements

Despite my grumbling about settlements and settlers grumbling about me, I’ve enjoyed this new feature of NMS. You randomly get a call to check out a settlement that’s not in good shape – they have terrible living conditions (I’ve not heard of one that’s spawned on a nice planet), a ever-rising debt, and a slew of things that need to be developed and fixed.

My settlement when first starting out

Sometimes you have requests to build new buildings – mine wanted a cantina first up – that help with happiness, productivity and population. You also have to listen to the woes of the citizens and decide outcomes to their disputes. Sometimes you get a visitor that can have effects on your settlement depending on how you choose to interact with them.

I hesitate to call it a city builder, though it resembles one. Placing new buildings is random and up to the game, but requires you to supply the materials for each stage. Once you supply the materials, the building takes real-life time to progress. Most of the time this is between one and two hours – though the first building may have taken a day.

A citizen resting in the new cantina

Once you finally do get your settlement out of debt, you can claim some of the items that the settlement produces at least once a day. There’s a timer on that, and it probably gets shorter as the living conditions get better.

I enjoy checking in on them and seeing what changes over time as a little project on the side.

Companions: Pets and Mounts

Another thing that I’ve been exploring in game is the companion system, which is also somewhat newer. You can adopt creatures you run across, ride them if they’re mountable, and “breed” them by taking their eggs to the Anomaly and messing with the DNA (I haven’t sorted through this system yet).

The very first pet I adopted was one of the flying butterfly/snake/caterpillar creatures that captivated me back when we first discovered our home planet last year.

I’ve since learned that they aren’t all that rare on Paradise planets. But I still really like them as a flying mount. In fact, I hatched an egg from my first adopted pet, and while she seems to be stuck in Infant state, whatever I did at the Egg Station made her a bright green with a potential to be very large.

This is Formista, and she’s my favorite companion so far.

She’s already larger than the others of her kind even as an infant, but I’d love to see her finally age so I can see how large she’s supposed to be in the end!

I’ve also caught some less useful pets over time, like this strange rainbow slime with eyes in it…

Eventually I did release it because you can only have so many pet slots. While it was a cool pet, it didn’t benefit me much to have.

I’m working on training up a ground mount because they can do a lot more than the flying mounts. And this is something I still haven’t explored yet.

Base Building

I also ended up tearing down the old prefab base I had begun because I was having trouble with powering it, the lack of space inside, and the fact that my terraformed ground kept coming back. I later learned there’s only so much terraforming you can do in a base radius before it starts undoing the earliest edits.

I’m much happier with my new base, especially since I’ve opened up building pieces such as windows and glass roofs. I now have a larger, more open wooden type base next to the ocean with great big windows and a green house area.

I wish I had a better shot of my newest build, but here’s an idea.

I’ve mostly been putting off the main quests for doing side quests, unlocking new slots for my suit, upgrading technology, base building… all that sort of stuff. As of last night, I’ve been working on trading in order to upgrade my existing ship. I have a decent B class Shuttle type, but I was hoping for something of a higher class before I spent the materials installing bigger warp drives.

Amoon did help me find a crashed B class Explorer which is a step up for me. It’s a free ship, though I have a lot of work to fix the broken slots within it. I’m not in a rush, though. I’ve already made a lot more progress in the side questlines in this game than I ever have, so I’m pleased with that.

A ship to fix

I’m done with most the base building quests, I have my farming station quests taken care of, my exocrafts going, and not too many other quests from the stations within my base. I did start the quest for the living ship, which I’m in no rush to complete either.

On top of that, we’ve been working on missions from the Anomaly that earn Quicksilver for various cosmetics and fun things. I got rainbow flame trails for my jetpack, for example. So there’s much, much more I can do in this game!

Posted in Blogging

Websites Going Retro & Accidental Import

Last year, I first wrote about the project to recreate my old 2004 FFIV fansite, Sygnus Star, on the Neocities platform. Thanks to inspiration from the FFIV Pixel Remaster (which I still need to finishplaying) I’m pretty much done with the restoration of that site now.

I just happened to have kept all of the old files that were needed to rebuild the site from scratch. I did make some updates – this site existed before CSS and stylesheets were widely used – and I’ve learned a whole lot about HTML coding in terms of using CSS that I didn’t know in my youth.

You can check out the Sygnus Star recreation here!

I had so much fun with that project that while I could still tweak a few more things, the gears in my head started moving and I decided I wanted to make a whole nother retro page from scratch. This time, I chose to transform my secondary WordPress blog, Spot of Mummery, into a hand-coded HTML site.

There’s a number of reasons I chose to do this…

  • My WordPress subscription renewal was coming up and it felt like the cost to Support Neocities was equivalent or even a better deal for me (I can make up to 30 websites on one account and they even allow you to point a domain to each of them!)
  • Sustaining more than one blog with FFXIV content was starting to not make sense – there’s a lot in Spot of Mummery that doesn’t belong here on this blog, but a lot that did. It was starting to take content away from my main blog at that point.
  • I’m having an absolute ball building retro websites and the basic content of Spot of Mummery could absolutely fit into that niche!

So over the past week or so, I’ve been busy at work coding the new site.

Check out what I’ve done so far here!

I still have a bunch of work to do to transfer the remaining story content, but overall, I think it’s been a great move for me. I’ve been able to be much more creative and make the page exactly how I want it to be – something you just can’t do in a WordPress.com hosted environment (it’s sometimes hard to do even self-hosted).

Plus I’ve been learning a ton of new things as I find ways to work around not having PHP – CSS and Javascript power this site, but I’ve been able to install an art gallery, blog and more. Of course, I’ve had to rely on third party stuff for things like a guestbook, counter and chat box, but that was always the way even back in the day.

The one thing that I was snagged on was what to do with the blog itself. There was a LOT of content to pull over, and while I do have a blogging solution within the site, it’s not really meant for hundreds of posts (though it could handle them I think).

That’s when it occurred to me that I could maybe merge some content that felt relevant enough into this blog, and then transfer the rest of it to the static site over time. I wasn’t meaning to merge a great deal – just a little at a time – so I set up a one month export on the second blog.

Or, at least, I thought I was only exporting one month of content. Seems like WordPress had ideas of its own.

It wasn’t until I went to import here on this blog that I saw it trying to pull in over a thousand files!! I knew that the number of posts in that supposed one month period of time shouldn’t have been that big! But the import was already going, and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it.

So yes, it ended up importing all of the posts in Spot of Mummery to this blog… which… wasn’t what I wanted it to do.

I’m already working through cleaning out non-relevant posts, but now I have another project on my hands. Thankfully, the images are still hosted over on my second blog, so there’s not a lot of broken pictures in the posts. But some of the posts may show up wonky and some of them simply don’t belong here.

If you see weird stuff floating around, I’m working on fixing it. And don’t be surprised if a number of the posts vanish, too, as I determine what belongs on the static site vs. what fits in here.

I guess on the upside, I’ve somewhat answered my own questions about whether I really need a second blog or not.

Posted in Blogging

500 WordPress Followers!

I just wanted to thank everyone who has followed and supported this blog – I’m super excited to have reached over 500 WordPress followers! So thank you very much!

I have a lot of writing I want to do soon here, but I’ve been distracted by HTML projects – of which I want to write a post to talk about, too!

I’ve lately been moving Spot of Mummery (which was my other gaming blog) to its own HTML-based site. This project has been tons of fun for me, but it’s left me questioning what to do with the blog portion of the old site.

At first, I considered moving it to static HTML, but I think it will be a lot of work for a lot of content that doesn’t play well with that environment. So now, I think the better option would be to merge it in here with this blog… and…

Yeah, I think you know where I’m going with that.

Strangely enough, I’m considering moving my fiddle content to a static HTML site, too. But I have enough work on my hands with all this moving and merging so I’m going to hold off on that. πŸ˜€

For now, just know all my sites and blogs are under construction and I hope to find a happy home and balance between them going forward! Thanks again for 500 follows and sending best wishes for a great October! πŸŽƒ

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Taking on the Four Lords

One of my goals in content to beat before Endwalker was to finish the Four Lords questline on Ben. I know… I know… you’re probably saying – but this was content from two expansions ago. And you would be right!

A long, long time back, I did beat the Byakko fight. But that’s where I stopped once I realized there were going to be a series of trials for this quest line.

My common approach to trials that are not included in the MSQ is to skip them. Trials in general are one of my least favorite types of content in FFXIV, so much that I’ve done most of the Heavensward ones unsynced and don’t know a thing about the fights. That’s why I never run Trials on roulette – I don’t want to put myself or my party through that pain.

I didn’t know that I only had two more trials to face in the Four Lords questline to finish it. For some reason, I had the idea there were a lot more fights to do. So I put it off and put it off until this past weekend.

With the help of FC folks, I managed to make short work of the remaining two fights – Suzaku and Seiryu. We did them in a duty finder party – so no unsyncing these – and I went in blind to both fights.

There were a few snags and a lot of learning to be done on my part. Suzaku was a lot easier than Seiryu was for me, though it took me to discuss some of Suzaku’s mechanics later with FC folks to understand the whole quadrant explosion thing.

Seiryu got hairy (or should I say scaly) more than once during the process. But both seem to be learn-able fights overall. Nothing so bad that I’d swear off doing them ever again. Not like I will have the chance (or want the chance) for that, though! XD

While I obviously wasn’t super invested in this storyline (since I dropped it in the middle as I did years ago), it had its interesting parts. I was especially curious about the elements that suggest Tenzen may have been not just a Warrior of Light from the previous time, but even a previous incarnation of the player character.

This lends strength to a few lore ideas I’ve had for my own stories – things that FFXIV doesn’t explicitly state but only suggests. This is something that I really like about how the game handles lore. It gives enough wiggle room for players to say “this is a possibility” or to simply ignore something if they don’t want to apply it to their own character.

Anyhow, it felt good to finish up this lingering quest line, earn the /hum emote and mark one thing off my list. I still need to do the entire questline of Werlyt on Ben… but that’s something to tackle some other time.

Posted in Gaming

Finding Ancient Nintendo Treasures – Final Fantasy & Super Mario RPG!

So, I’m currently in the process of getting a shed built so that I can do some organization of my closets and get some junk out of my house. Fun times!

Yesterday, I pulled out a bunch of storage bins in my back bedroom which contained lots of old stuff – childhood toys, VHS anime tapes and some old gaming controllers. Admist the box of controllers, I found a few treasures of old!

I kept most of my original SNES boxes whenever I bought the games brand new. I folded them flat for safekeeping. I knew I had a bunch of them in a bin in the other closet, but I didn’t expect to find what I did in this particular bin! Talk about a flash from the past.

Note: I still have the original carts and the manuals for all of these, though they’re in another bin somewhere else.

Click images to see bigger pictures!

Final Fantasy II SNES Box

Front
Back

I even have the sales slip from when we bought this game. I remember that we found the best price at Lowes of all places. They had one little glass case with just a few SNES games, and FFII was one of them!

November 7, 1992 was a good day for my teen self. πŸ™‚

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest SNES Box

Front

Final Fantasy III SNES Box

Front
Back

Final Fantasy I NES Box

Front
Back

I also found some complete Famicom versions, gifted by a friend a long, long time ago.

Final Fantasy VI Famicom Box & Game

Front – the box was damaged on the bottom but otherwise okay
Back – You can see more of the damage here at the bottom

Super Mario RPG Famicom Box & Game

Front
Back
Complete!

Sometimes being a pack rat pays off. πŸ™‚

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: In-Game Vigil for Stephen Critchlow

Earlier this week, the community heard the sad news that actor Stephen Critchlow had passed away. He was involved in theater, television, radio production, but more immediate to the gaming world, he lent his voice to several characters in games over the years.

To the FFXIV community, he brought to life the character Count Edmont de Fortemps – one that’s looked upon as a kindly father figure for not just his own family but for the WoL in a time of their greatest need. He’s also the narrator of the Heavensward story, introducing new areas as you travel – and is one of the first voices you hear in the expansion as your character stumbles through the snow-swept lands.

Due to this, the community on many servers chose to hold a vigil for him outside of Fortemps Manor. Much like the vigil seen earlier this year for Kentaro Miura, players lined up with campfire minions out. Many dressed in house Fortemps colors and most used the House Fortemps Knight title. I took part in the vigil for a few hours, as well.

On Mateus, individuals who were able to craft the campfire minions were giving them out to folks who didn’t have one and had joined the vigil. Kind words were offered about the actor and his character. Whenever someone needed to leave the event, they often announced their departure to encourage someone to take their spot in the line.

Here’s a video that was captured of the vigil on my server (I wasn’t there by this time), to give you an idea of the scope of it.

While it’s a sad loss, it’s nice to see the community come together to remember the good things that Stephen Critchlow helped create for the world. May he rest in peace.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Pantomime Emote Fun

Sometimes an emote comes along that is so absolutely perfect for Amon that I don’t think twice about the cost on the Mogstation. I don’t always spend freely in cash shops, but when I see something I like or that fits one of my characters, I don’t mind picking it up.

The Pantomime emote is well worth the money in my eyes. Compared to some of the dances we got before that were nothing but short, looping animations, Pantomime is a long emote with lots of varied motions and expressions.

There’s a LOT of value for Gposers here – from angry/trapped looks, to strange frames when the character jumps, to the smug arm cross that turns into a backwards fall of horror and surprise. A lot of movements we haven’t seen in an emote before, and they’re all quite fluid and realistic.

There’s a few specific parts of the emote, when the character hefts themself over the invisible “wall” that make for some extra fun such as…

Rocket Amon!

And…

Sk8ter Amon!

Both Photoshop edits, of course. πŸ™‚

Have you bought a Mogstation emote, and if so, was it worth it?

Posted in Valheim

Valheim – Hearth and Home Exploration

This weekend, we updated Valheim and explored a little bit about the new Hearth and Home patch. We didn’t get to test out the changes to battle yet because most of our focus was getting crafting stations updated, specifically the cauldron.

I know there was a bunch of unhappy feedback about this patch initially and I also know that the team has already hotfixed the game to respond to this feedback. I expect there will be continued tweaks in the long run, but props to them for making quick fixes where they’re needed.

I am a little worried because I’m hearing the game is harder than it was before. We were just finding our stride in defeating fulings and had yet to beat the last boss, so it was at an agreeable difficulty, at least for us, before the patch.

Amoon also joined us for the first time in a while, so we helped to get him up to date on his gear. Thankfully, we had enough resources stashed away to create almost a full set of padded gear for him, though we need a bit more to get it all upgraded.

The most exciting item I explored is the Incinerator! Finally, we have a way to destroy unwanted items! And boy did we have a lot of them.

While Valheim Plus does allow items to eventually disappear after a while, we still had a little fenced-in part of our base where we basically just chucked unwanted trophies and other things into it while we awaited removal.

This is so, so much better! It only requires one cheap item from the merchant. Though I suggest that you put it well away from other objects unless you want the process of incineration to damage everything around it… (learned this the hard way).

OOPS! I guess lightning striking would cause damage.

Thor apparently bestows upon you a gift for offering up stuff in the Incinerator, though it’s not as glamourous as you might be hoping. Still, what you get is far more useful than what you put in. πŸ˜‰

The cauldron also now has several upgrades it didn’t have before, and these upgrades gate the types of food that you can make. For example, you can’t make fish wraps unless you have a higher level cauldron. Things like pots and pans, butcher blocks and spice racks need to be placed near the cauldron, much like upgrades to workbenches.

Cauldron Upgrades

We messed around with the food stats and tried to find foods that would balance health and stamina. I’m not a huge fan of how they broke things out because fighting doesn’t just need health but the stamina to fight.

I know they’ve patched food to make it better, but stamina has always been a pet peeve of mine in Valheim. I do think that there needs to be a limitation on what you can do in the game, but even leveling up and using a slight boost from Valheim Plus, stamina depletes far more quickly than I feel it should. It makes the game more frustrating than challenging, IMHO.

Anyhow.

Complexity of making food has expanded. You have to have a special type of rack to cook certain meats now. And if you want to bake anything – such as pie or bread – you now have to make the pie at the cauldron, then bake it in the new oven to complete it.

I’m not sure how I feel about having an extra step just for baked goods, though it makes it more realistic than baking a pie in a cauldron. Also, it’s fun to watch the pie baking, and see how the pies fly out when you retrieve them once they’re done.

On the downside, I’m not sure if this means you can burn the baked items… which given the resources that go into making a pie, would be a bummer.

We haven’t looked into the new housing building pieces yet. But I am glad to finally be able to plant birch trees now. Fine lumber was becoming more scarce before this.

I’m sure there were other things I noticed about the update and haven’t talked about yet here. For now, I’m going to reserve my final judgement until we get out on the plains and see how our weapons and shields work against a fuling camp.