Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Instead I am deep into some games!
This month I finished playing Arkham City which was splendid. I say finished, I haven't collected all the Riddler trophies or the challenge maps, but I have completed the main storyline, fought my way through baddies and bosses and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a very empowering game and extremely fluid. Brilliant work there from Rocksteady, already looking forward to DLC / the next one.
Skyrim Junkie. Or not actually. It seemed to be all everyone was talking about - one of my friends facebooks had 74 replies to a status about Skyrim. Whenever people talked about 'examples of X / Y / Z type of game' it would be Skyrim that was mentioned. It was it seemed the Mount Olympus of games. Ambrosia of gaming here I come. But I was a bit dissapointed. It's good, the dragons look cool. But it doesn't seem that good. Maybe I'm missing something. It really is just Oblivion but a bit prettier though isn't it? They might have touched up a couple of bits but it really doesn't seem that different. There are some nice features (I like the quest system, the snow looks amazing) but all in all... I think it's rather over-rated. I shall now don my flame-proof suit to protect me from the Skyrim love.
The iPad sees lots and lots of free stuff at Christmas, most of it fairly benile. Bards Tale is quite amusing and a nicely done version and soon I will pick up GTA III as I've heard it's very good. Nothing though has really grabbed me this month.
And then, of course, there's Star Wars: The Old Republic. This deserves and will get it's own post. However it is great. There we go, that's my full academic opinion. 'It's Great'. Really, it is.
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Along the way I have read a lot of games theory books, some more accessible than others, and been trying to keep hugely up to date (I say hugely, I mean as much as I can!) with all the 'gaming news' - Gamasutra is my regular stop over but I have about 15 sources on an RSS feed which I download and catch up with on the bus. RSS feeds are great (I think I have one above which you could follow me on, which obviously you should!) because it means they send me the news. I use Go Reader on the iPad in combination with Read It Later, which is fantastic for storing stuff for later consumption.
On top of all of this I am trying to read around the subject as much as possible. A lot of people have talked about the need to be a bit of a rennaisance man in this subject - to know as much as possible about as much as possible, which certainly seems to be the case. I have books on project management and structuralism to read next and on my christmas list is Technical Maths for Dummies. I realise how much of a geek that makes me sound. I suppose it is all part of Geekademia (which is a term I am stealing from one of my tutors (although I suppose it might be more common than I realise, it's certainly one I am fond of).
I'm also reading various psychology books, albeit mostly ones written in layman's terms to compliment some of my understanding of the topic I am writing my first 'proper' essay on, which is about the feeling of heroism in games, thus Jung is heavy on my reading list along with some Morphology of the Folk Tale and other such classics! Naturally I am also playing lots of games (I'll post up more what I'm playing in the next few days, because, once more my play-list has moved on a fair amount)
It's quite a challenge this course, I think it's been about 14 years since my last official essay, and so writing and referencing 'all formal like' is quite hard going, but I am enjoying the challenge, and slowly getting to grips with it. I am also finding that I am enjoying the reading a lot more than I thought I might before the course started. The design element is also extremely fulfilling, which I sort of knew it would be but it still deserves an honourable mention!
Conferences, guest speakers, essays, lectures and many many books make up the majority of my life at the moment, but I have to admit that I am rather loving it. Roll on semester 2.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
I thought I'd post it here mostly to see how to do it! This probably isn't the best way to upload files that can be downloaded but I am still looking for good ways to do that!
So anyway without further ado, you can download it from here
I've since then put it up on a public folder on dropbox which is a much more efficient way of popping it up here of course!
It's worth noting that that will download an .exe file which you can then click to play. It's not virus infested. Well not as far as I know!!
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
So the course is going well, it's deeply enjoyable, although I wish that I had 17 more days in the week to study everything that I'd like to get my head into! Life continues to be a little manic, I'm trying to get to some conferences when I can as well as the lectures, and am constantly on the look out for more games-y things I can do - if you have any suggestions then I would welcome them!
Lectures range from narrative in games to character design, from project management to how to deal with programmers (I am beginning to feel a bit sorry for them as they seem to get a hard time of it!)
I am reading more than I have for some time as I am trying to devour the essential reading and get in some reading of various texts that people describe as being 'really good read' (so far nobody has suggested any Mills and Boon).
There has been essays and presentations and at the moment the daunting task of designing our own essay title.
Everyone on the course is pretty great, there's been a lot of interesting talk about all sorts of games and general geek-ery. Still no karaoke but I haven't given in yet... It's a slight shame we only get to do one real piece of group work but I guess there's always the opportunity to do more during / later.
We have to learn how to use a game-making program called MMF which is absorbing and very user friendly, I am pottering around making little bits and pieces, and I might try and upload something here at some point (if that's even possible, if not then somewhere similar to here (I have no real idea how to upload a downloadable file to a blog so if there's a simple way then I'd welcome the advice!)
We see a lot of all of our lecturers which is great and they are all very approachable and helpful during times of lack of faith or just with generally helpful advice.
We had a visit from some old students which was both inspiring and practical - all of their advice was absorb as much as you can, make the most of everything and other similar sentiments. It was great to hear from people who were in our position a few years ago and are now, in a very real sense, 'doing it'.
As a list of things I am trying to learn a bit about that are not things on the course I'm learning how to use Microsoft Visio & Project, Maya and a bit about UDK, I am practising my photoshop skills (which are measly) and have learnt how to use Keynote and Presi, although Powerpoint remains a staple favourite. I'll probably practise a bit with some sort of art program at some point although it's never going to be my strong point. It's a lot about being a Renaissance Man it seems, and so anything I can pick up I will value. Suggestions welcome!
I've avoided buying Skyrim, because even though I would love to play it I fear it is just too much of a time sink at the moment. RIP Skyrim, see you some time next year...
Monday, 21 November 2011
Dead Island - this has had a really mixed reception, which is in part I am sure due to the incredible trailer it released which had little to do with the game itself:
The reviews of the game have been equally mixed but I have loved playing it. I am playing with friends and we are taking our time with it, exploring, trying to do all the quests, and just enjoying it. I like co-operative games, far more than I like shooting my friends in the head (or in my case being shot by my friends in the head). I think it has some really interesting features too - it's a zombie game where it's bright and sunny. The island is in part, beautiful and scenic, there are some really different and quite expansive environments, some of which are quite unpleasant. I think the character choices are interesting (they're all 'tainted' people in different ways, it's also a game that lets you choose from a variety of ethnicities which I think is interesting on a different level as well. Gameplay wise it's interesting - it isn't as frantic as something like Left 4 Dead, but a bit more relaxed. All in all I've really enjoyed it.
I've also been investing many hours into Batman Arkham City from Rocksteady which is absolutely fantastic, it's very similar to the first game but more - more gadgets, more space, more moves and more characters. I'm still not finished with it, because I am playing it in a similar way to Dead Island and really savouring the experience. The combat structure is one to be envious of - it's very fluid and variable, and the way they ramp up the difficulty is clever. There are some challenges that are pretty extreme - I'm struggling with the flight ones - and the voice acting is superb taking as it does the talents of the animated series. This has been the single player game that I have enjoyed the most in a long time.
DC online, which is Free To Play and I wanted to be excellent... Sadly the lag was just too much for me (and I suspect everyone) - it made it literally impossible to play with all my damage (being dealt) not kicking in until about 30 seconds after I started attacking, in the meantime my enemies were able to beat me up in 'real time'. Boo. Chat on forums and things indicated that this was only in the starting areas, but it was enough to kill it for me. It's a real shame because I like the franchise but I just couldn't deal with the pain of it.
Champions Online for a comparison which is also Free to Play - I haven't really delved into the Free to Play market before and it was an interesting venture. Champions offers a really good character customisation system in terms of costume and power IF you pay, and that was fun. I am enjoying the game play and the way it all works, but not sure if it will hold me for a very long time. It doesn't have that feeling of longevity that it would need for that. Of course also The Old Republic comes out in about a month! What's odd about Champions is that it's based on the old 1980s roleplaying game and it has stuck to that quite religiously, but that makes it feel rather dated in an odd way. There are some interesting mechanics - you have to charge up your energy meter by using a power and then can use a tougher power, which is quite fun for a while, but there's not a plethora of abilities that you can choose from at any one time and so I get a little 'button-sore' after a while. On the other hand it is free...
Naturally I played some more Sims 3 for a night or two!
I'm still playing Tomb Run on the iPhone, but my addiction to i-store games continues. I am enjoying playing a bit of Scribblenaughts - it's a bit easy but it's a lot of fun and there's a lot of ingenuity in that game. I enjoyed making a nuclear bomb the other day and getting an achievement of 'destroyed the world'.
And no, I haven't yet played Skyrim. I will, and I know I will love it, but there's only so many hours in the month and Skyrim would eat them all, so I sorta plan to buy it when I have a bit more time and perhaps when it is discounted on Steam!! I still have quite a few things I haven't yet finished so I am in no rush. Until next time :)
Sunday, 23 October 2011
So we're four weeks into the course at Brunel, already. It's going great so far, and so in no particular order:
My journey in has got considerably more successful - I've discovered that there's a bus that goes almost directly to the university from almost directly outside my door. This is quite a bonus and although it often gets me in very early it means that I have time to muse over things before we start and generally feel ready for the day, as well as sitting chatting with other people before we begin our class with some pretty good coffee!
On Wednesdays we have a design class which is deals with the practical elements and strategies of games design, it's a great class full of opinions and exercises. Thursdays we have a theory class followed by a theory / business class. It's allayed some of my fears so far with disucssion, note-taking and discussion of what the theory means in the 'real world' which is great.
On top of that we have at least three pieces of essential reading per week, which is normally a book and 2 papers or some variation of that. There's a list of secondary reading too, which I would love to get to more of, but might realistically be something to look up more of later. I'm learning to use MMF (multimedia fusion) which is a piece of software to help you deisgn games as well.
That's before we get to 'assignment work' - so it's quite busy and taking a lot of time, but at the same time it's quite fulfilling and I am enjoying it a great deal, I am massively looking forward to hearing some of the guest speakers and now looking forward to working in a team with some of the other students on the course on some of our assignments, we have a good year I think, and although it's going to be over all too soon I'm trying to take every opportunity on it that I can.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Apparently there is a Dark Crystal RPG in the making and unnoticed by me there are already some Dark Crystal books / Graphic novels out there.
I can't claim any credit for discovering this so here's some links:
That's it for now, but one to watch :)
Friday, 7 October 2011
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
So, today was the day, it has all begun and I've had my first lecture. It was a lecture on the history of games and was given by Steve Jackson. Now as I've mentioned elsewhere I grew up reading Fighting Fantasy Books, they are in many ways what started me on this path and led me to here so there is a beautiful synergy to Mr Jackson giving my first lecture. It was a great and interesting start on the history of games, ranging from some of the first games we know existed and ended with a neat tail into digital games.
Steve Jackson spoke extremely eloquently on all sorts of historical board games, card games and moved onto miniatures, war-games and roleplaying games. I know that I for one found it fascinating and a useful lead into the subject. Anecdotes and facts meshed together neatly and put the topic nicely in context. I set a lot of store in good board games / social non-digital games and enjoyed mentions of some old classics as well as games that have taken up many hours of my life! I look forward a great deal to hearing him speak more and seeing more of what has brought him to this stage of his involvement with the industry. I was also enamoured of the fact that he can talk about the games he was playing last night. Hopefully at some point we'll get to play some games with him!
In other news I've begun to understand the bus system a bit more and it's an easy (if early) journey! I'm now on my way home to read some Rules of Play (Salem and Zimmerman) before tomorrow's first theory lecture.
Finally of course (and how could I not mention this) there was a major event at the university today, for which there were signs everywhere. You have probably heard about it on the news, but if not, then I'm sorry you missed it... How bizarre.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Friday, 16 September 2011
It is by a gentleman named (as you can probably see for yourself) Mike Naylor and it, and various other amusing 'mathemagics' can be found on his blog: Mike Naylor's Math Blog. Enjoy.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
I am about to start my Masters Degree in Games design which is very exciting. I am about to start running a tableop WFRP campaign using a couple of interesting tools and the excellent looking WFRP 3E rules. I have discovered podcasts and am listening to various gaming ones. It's a great way to pass the time whilst washing up or walking to work!
In games I have just bought Space Marine - I have always liked the Warhammer 40k setting - the whole techpriest, god-emperor feel is very stylish. It's a nicely put together game, I fear it may be a bit short, but there is a whole world of expansion possible that I forsee in the future. I'll be interested to see where it goes. The multiplayer is fun too - a lot like CoD but I enjoyed it more last night than I did that 'classic'.
Starwars: The Old Republic, The Secret World are both MMOs that excite me. I fear they may eat some time in the coming months. If SWTOR dissapoints then a little part of me will die inside - I am perhaps a little over excited about this one. By contrast Secret World looks interesting and will be a gem if it works.
On the Xbox there is Batman Arkham City - Arkham Asylum was a terrific game, and following that there is the latest Assassins Creed game and Elder Scrolls V and Silent Hill: Downpour. It's a lot of games, and sadly there is only so much time in the day. Perhaps we could arrange for there to be one added?
FFG are also still releasing their Lord of the Rings Card Games, which are excellent (1 per month) and have announced a big expansion later in the year called the Khazad-dûm Expansion and in December are releasing the next WFRP expansion, The Lure of Power. Exciting Times.
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Oh yes - where can you get it from I hear you cry? Well, here is a good starter for 10... (or should that be for one Sigmars Hammer and two boons?
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
LoTRtCG is a co-operative 'Living Card Game' (LCG), it has elements of Magic the Gathering (MtG) to it and is a bit like the co-operative boardgame as well - players choose a deck and play through a scenario with each other. There is a mechanism to know how you are doing (quests and progress tokens) and automatic rules to decide who is attacked and by what (the threat meter). The rules (so far) work extremely well, and as long as you keep the book to hand are fairly easy to follow once you have your head around them. To aid with that Fantasy Flight have provided a full illustrated with examples rule book and also a series of You Tube videos which take you through the sequence of play and give examples of how it all works. They are really handy when understanding everything. In addition to that there are rules that are simply printed on the cards which are easy to follow.
The game can be played solo (which is quite tricky) or with up to 4 players. There are 3 different quests provided with the core set have are increasingly difficult. There are 4 player 'suits' - Spirit, Tactics, Leadershop and Lore - each of which have very different styles of play. All in all there's quite a lot of variation just there. Add to that that there is a set of ways to design tournament decks which allows you to create a deck of mixed 'suits'. Of course you also get to control some heroes, 12 of which are provided with the core set. Also in the core set are encounter cards which randomise what you face along the way (ranging from baddies to fight, things that happen or locations to visit.)
So why is it a Living Card Game? Well, each month (or so) FFG are going to release an expansion, which will will provide a new quest (s), new cards for each suit, new heroes and encounter cards and other additions to game play. These aren't like 'MtG' where you buy endless boosters to make up your collection, hoping to acquire rare cards. Instead they provide a set list of cards to enhance the game in specific ways. There are 6 expansions currently planned which tell the story of looking for Gollum.
This can be played as a random board game, or probably with a storytelling element, indeed when sacrificing one of your allies it's hard not to vocalise a "My dwarven miner valiantly gets in the way to save the life of Eowyn!"
There are a few issues discussed on forums about not having enough cards in the core set to make up a world beating tournament deck but that doesn't really worry me (yet at least) and FFG have openly said that they've made a game which is playable and fun with expansion coming in the future. Lots of people talk about buying two or three sets to make a full deck, but that certainly isn't necessary for the casual player.
FFG makes a whole bundle of games, many of which I didn't know about and I think I will be investing in more of them as time goes on. in the LCG range They are releasing a Star Wars Co-operative game next year and already have Game of Thrones, Cthulu & a Warhammer one, the latter three being Vs games, not co-op ones. Not to mention that they also have a lot of big licenses (Conan, Battlestar Galactica and more) not to mention their own fine IP (Tannhauser & Mansions of Madness for example).
So far I am very impressed. I've orded Hunt For Gollum (the first of the expansions) off the back of the experience so far and I am looking forward to more multiplayer action this weekend.
It can be bought from various places including amazon and the excellent comic / games shop - Travelling Man
Monday, 25 July 2011
The winners of the 2011 Develop Awards, which recognises the best of video games development, have been announced in Brighton - I've copied them below. I'm happy that Ian Livingstone who amongst other things wrote / produced many of the Fighting Fantasy books won the 'Design Legend' award, and I hope he starts using it as a sobriquet - "Hi I'm Ian 'Design Legend' Livingstone.' Even if he doesn't though I'm pleased he got it as I grew up reading his books.
Minecraft also picked up quite a few... and I still don't get it, but good on them.
So here's the list:
New download IP
Minecraft (Mojang Specifications)
Use of a licence or IP
F1 2010 (Codemasters Birmingham)
Papa Sangre (Somethin’ Else)
TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES
Kinect (Microsoft Research Cambridge)
Unreal Engine 3 (Epic Games)
SPECIAL INDUSTRY RECOGNITION
Thursday, 21 July 2011
I was keen enough to track down the collectors edition (only it seems available from Game in the UK), and was slightly depresssed to find it was £129.99. I don't think I am that much of a fan! So then the question was - am I enough of a fan to pre-order it from Origin - which still gets me a few little funky items... I am depressed to say I am! Aparently though demand is high and not everyone will be able to preorder... so get them in now kids! OR perhaps that's a marketing scam. I dunno.
The cheapest option is (of course?) Amazon. But you can also get it from Play
Thursday, 14 July 2011
It's quick and simple to learn but there are nuances to the races and classes that meant that it kept us thinking and coming back for more. The graphics are pretty and functional, the interface is seemless and helpful. I haven't played the board game but came to understand the rules during the first play through.
There are two 'mini-expansion packs' available to purchase from in the app which gives you some more races and classes. If I had to criticise I would say there were perhaps a little overpriced compared to the price of the game, BUT they did add some new dimensions to the game. It would lovely to see a different board layout as well, after our multiple play throughs that might have been nice.
Apparently it's a very good adaptation of the board game, I haven't played that but it looks like it is from the pictures. The UI means that you don't have to turn the iPad round (it reverses for the other player if you want it to) and although the instructions throw you in quite quickly we didn't find it a problem.
Small World gave us a very fun evenings play and I'll certainly come back to it. I very much hope they'll release some more of their games on the iPad and I'll pick up their other offering (Ticket to Ride) at some point and I will probably look at buying some of their board games too.
They have a great quote on their website which I think sums it up well, so I have reprinted it here:
"Digital board games have several advantages over cardboard: They're always with you, they save space, they take care of all the record-keeping and rules enforcement, and they're a lot cheaper. Small World hits all these marks."
Julian Murdoch for GameSpy
Monday, 11 July 2011
I'm still playing LA Noire, about which I will write in more depth at some point. I can't help but think it's too easy at the moment... Sims 3 still amuses me and Rift still calls me back a bit as well.
I have indulged in the Steam sale over the last few weeks and picked up some things that I wanted which I saw on offer and couldn't resist. I can't help but notice that it is the month of the sequel!
The Witcher 2 - I enjoyed the first story of Geralt and invested in the second. So far (and it hasn't seen much air yet) it's very pretty, it's very smooth but there's a lot of cutscene. I think more than gameplay as yet. But time will tell. It's also quite unforgiving, so lots of saving is par for the course.
I also invested in Bioshock, the original game because everyone tells me how amazing it is. I am pretty impressed so far and it was £3.49 which I think makes me a winner! (This game somewhat dissapointingly though doesn't fit in with the month of the sequel so I rectify that below!)
Portal 2 was another reduced buy because lots of people rave about it. Perhaps I will be too, certainly I'm impressed so far.
And finally for now I bought Neverwinter Nights 2... My inner geek couldn't resist it for £5 with change! I'm looking forward to playing it. I didn't try the dungeon designing thing in number 1, but intend to in this version.
All of this ended up with me investing in a new graphics card as well - I thought mine could handle the pace but I was proved wrong. I have to recommend the helpfulness of the people at PC World - they knew exactly what they were talking about and I got a great deal with a card that was on sale. Hooray.
I have been somewhat snowed under with work of late so none of the games have seen enough play time, but in months to come I am sure they will get some hours of enjoyment / frustration thrown at them!
Thursday, 7 July 2011
It raised for me a couple of things - the importance of 'the catch' - I am not a big fan of games with guns but like conspiracy stuff and this game instantly had me hooked.
It also addressed something that I have a little bug bear about which is the '2-faction game' - it seems to me that when most games launch they have two factions and never the twain shall meet. I know that it's often addressed later in expansions (like the City of Heroes expansion Going Rogue) or DLC but I rather like that from the get-go this has three factions. I *hope* that there's interaction between them as well (that isn't just beating them up!) but we will see.
Obviously three factions means more development work (or I suppose less 'complete' factions) but even so the choice appeals to me. Now, which one to choose in order that I might be able to sign up for the beta (you get to pick on the website after a test (here) which leads you to a sign up form. Choices choices choices...
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Friday, 1 July 2011
The Heist gives you 4 types of puzzle to solve:
- remove the block by sliding tiles
- Remove control move blocks around to get them onto squares
- Link point 1 to point 2 (like pipes)
They premise of The Heist is that you are helping a woman break into a bank vault. On the main screen is a picture of said vault with some security measures. There's an XP bar at the bottom and as you complete puzzles that goes up. When you've done a set quota of them you break one level of security, and the graphics change a bit, which is all quite pretty and amusing (and this level of bank security explains a great deal about the whole banking crash we've been through.)
The puzzles aren't that difficult in the main (which is good because I'm not very good at them) but keep you gently challenged - it was my ideal elevator / waiting for the kettle game. You don't have to do them all, which means you can focus on the elements you're better at if you want to just progress on in the story
What defines the game though is the clever gimick. Here comes those spoilers I mentioned. Did you get that? Spoilers ahead....
When you start a new game your phone rings, and when you answer it a woman talks to you and asks you to aid her in the heist, and gives you some strict instructions about how to get through the vault to victory. You can put her on speaker phone and there's a picture of her in your contacts and everything. Brilliant. If you're not expecting it it comes as a surprise and a welcome one. It's quirky and a great gimmick and a bit of exposition to the 'story' of The Heist. After that she 'calls you' after each level and a couple of times during the event and at the end she factimes you. Brilliant.
On top of all that there's a prize. It's a downloadable puzzle game from Steam, which is a nice touch.
It's a very clever way of spicing a simple game up and the people over at Macheist (it's worth taking a look at their website too, as it contains lots of nice bits and bobs) deserve a little round of applause. I'll certainly be downloading the next game, mostly because I want to see where the story goes next!
Thursday, 30 June 2011
It features a a segment where a gentleman called Chuck Bittner who describes himself as "quadriplegic stand-up comedian (okay I'm the "can't stand up" comedian) and avid video game player" talks about his petition for button remapping so he can more effectively (or in some cases at all) play console games. That led me to his site which is called Ask A Capper which is found here. It addresses some really interesting issues about access to games and is well worth a read / watch.
On top of that it's also well worth checking out the other Nerd Alert videos which amid the humour raise some interesting points. Their 'back catalogue' is found here.
I should warn you that their videos contain some NSFW language.
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Monday, 27 June 2011
With mobile gaming becoming an ever-increasing medium of game playing (who hasn't heard of Angry Birds these days) I thought that this was a great example of ways in which mobile technology can be 'exciting' and interactive and bring new life to literature. Not to mention that of course this could be integrated with games in the future.
(For anyone who doesn't want to / can't click the link it's a link to an article about The Wasteland and it's iPad app which is pretty cool!)
Sunday, 26 June 2011
Star Wars Galaxies is a bit like UK libraries for me. I don't use my local library, but I still want it to be there. So when I heard that they're shutting down the servers and closing down Galaxies I was a little bit sad. I only played it for a few weeks, I didn't even like it very much, but still. I am unreasonably excited about the new Old Republic game as well. But still. It's sort of the end of an era. An era I wasn't part of, but I could have been... There's time between now and December I guess. I probably won't bother. But I'll always sort of wish I had.
Friday, 24 June 2011
I was interested therefore to read this article on some of their evolution and loved the bit at the end about Utopia - options outside the choices. Even if you don't read the article it's worth skimming to the end just for the final few paragraphs.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
The Heist (iPhone) - I am not very good at puzzles, it's a fact, but I quite enjoy them. The novelty of The 'gimmick' in the Heist is very good. I'm not sure that they've made enough of it, but it's clever and worth the price of the game I think. Behind that there are some moving block puzzles and soduko, connecting the pipes and a sort of remote control thing. It's simple but it passes some time.