SM Icons

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Halo 5 Guardians a Beautiful Game

I've played through the campaign of Halo 5 Guardians and my first impressions of this game it is beautiful, it looks and feels like a next gen game. The graphics are crystal clear and gorgeous. Whether it’s the refresh rate, the design the programmers all working in sync together this game is just right. If you have an Xbox One, go out and buy Halo 5 for the visual feast alone. If you don't have an Xbox One, go out and buy one with Halo 5.

Game play is fast & responsive. Extremely playable, the game keeps you immersed regardless of what is happening around you. The weapons feel just right. The speed, responsiveness, feedback all work to give you the best experience in a shooter. Driving the warthog in Halo 5 has never been so much fun. Again the improvement in responsiveness of the controls just makes everything feel right.

I love the Halo series so my review was always going to be slightly biased in favour. However it is well worth having a look at this game. I just feel sorry for the people that don’t have Xbox One’s right now because if they try Halo 5, they will want to buy one, period.
 I said Halo 4 was a love story, I really only played the campaign and I did really enjoy it.  Halo 5 is a love story by its developers of the franchise. Staying true to the Halo story, with a great story through the campaign, mind blowing visuals. And for me, the multiplayer really works in this game. I love shooters thanks to Halo, I didn’t say I was any good at them but I do love playing them. So for me Warzone is a nice addition, more of a Battlefield meets Halo. There is the Arena for hard core Halo fans but I find my scores in the arena are better than ever (not bad for an old fart).  

My only complaint about the game is lack of split screen for co-op campaign. That seemed like a proper Halo tradition that is worth bringing back.

Next time more on Halo 5 Multiplayer.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Destiny 2.0 The Taken King

After a massive update (17gb), I have been playing the new Destiny 2.0. Unfortunately the same evening  Battlefield 4 also had a large update. So I gave up the idea of gaming and let the Xbox One have some bandwidth

 I have nothing against Nolan North as a voice actor, but I do miss Peter Dinklage's voice and his take (sarcastic) as the voice of the Ghost. 
Leveling up makes more sense. You now can level  up based on activity in strikes or the crucible and not just "light" and gear beyond level 31. I was stuck at 31 for ages, but since the update I am now at level 34.

The  Inventory the new Bounties and Quests screens are improved.  And you can track 4 quest or bounties so you are updated when parts or all of the quest/bounty is completed. I look forward to reviewing the complete update..


Friday, 22 May 2015

Quick Takes

Some quick takes from the last few months.

I've been playing Destiny for awhile now. I wanted to write a review of the game, but the design of Destiny makes it difficult to simply review after a few hours, days or as with me a months of play.

Had  I reviewed the game after the first week,  I would have opened with  "If you've played Halo before, you'll realize that Destiny, although it has a familiar look and feel is not Halo, even if at times it feels like it." And Destiny does feel a bit like Halo, until you've played it for a week, then you'll realize its a brilliant game on it's own, and it's not Halo, quite. Is it an mmo? The public events feel like an mmo but beyond that I am not sure. I have never been on a raid. It is more fun to play Destiny with friends.Going on strikes, story missions etc are definitely better with friends. Some day I'll get to go on a raid.

Say g'nite Windows 8. I personally love Windows 8. Why people had issues with the charms bar (They're after my lucky charms) or the start screen is beyond me. But Windows 10 looks like a step in the right direction for Microsoft.

The HP Stream revolution with Celeron and Atom processors is off to a great start. Windows 8 is so efficient HP could make a tablet, the HP Stream 7, with Atom processors and it's actually usable. The stream 7 may not be sleek & light, but if want to carry a full version of Windows 8, install your choice of apps (chrome) run office 365 then for a low entry price you can't go wrong.

The HP Stream 11 comes with Office 365 for a year so for students etc it's perfect. The build quality is very good and thanks to Windows 8 it is great to use. For a complete review of the HP Stream 11 head to

I have been using a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for the last 2 years. It has been a great phone. I am desperate to move to Windows Phone but I am waiting for a successor to the Nokia Lumia 1020 with a Purview camera.  Otherwise I am very tempted by the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. I am also very tempted by the Apple iPhone 6 plus. I have been a fan of mobile photography for ages, the note 2 fulfilled the promise of a portable camera masquerading as a mobile phone. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Returning to form

I've just had my birthday so I thought it's a good time to post some reflection on the year behind me.

I quit smoking. So it's been over a year since my last cigarette. I can't say I haven't been tempted over the year to start again, but I do know myself well enough that I am either smoking 10-20 a day or not at all. So for me there is no having just 1 cigarette.

Its been just over a year since I had surgery to remove a benign tumour that took out my pituitary gland(pituitary adenoma). I had cut down smoking prior to the operation, after, well, let's just say I didn't want anything irritating my nose, and I may have been slightly afraid of the nurses had I gone out for a cigarette.

The surgery went great and  I feel better than ever. Thank you NHS. I have had access to the best doctors and treatment possible. I had some time off work while I was ill, and since then made it through a whole teaching year (phew).

Although I was active on Facebook & twitter, I haven't posted to my blogs in a long time. I am planning  to move to a single blog, rather than a personal and a professional blog. So as I figure out the best way to combine and go forward with blogging I will keep posting on

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Battlefield 3 End Game

Battlefield 3 End Game has been out now for 3 days. It's a worthy finale for what has been a brilliant Game.  BF3 Premium DLCi has brought out Close Quarters, Armoured Kill and Aftermath and finally End Game.  I've played all of them as they were released. End Game has 4 new maps and brings new gameplay challenges with Air Superiority and Capture the Flag.  Air Superiority is jets on jets battle to win flags. It was the first part of End Game I played. Air Superiority is dog fight heaven. Capture the Flag is a frantic match to steal your enemies flags and protect your own flag.  Dice have added dirt bikes and some new armour. The Dirt Bikes are fast and nimble. The new dropship let's you launch in to help your teammates in a vehicle. 

Dice gives you the best experience with first person firepower. With the new maps and vehicles it is fast and furios. I've enjoyed the other DLC with Premium Membership. But I have to say that End Game is the icing on the cake, and well worth the price of admission.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I've had a thought (remembered) about a great way to use Pinterest

Finally, after having a Pinterest for ages, I've thought of (remembered) a good way of using it.  Back a long time ago in a galaxy far far away I worked for Disney games. Occasionally I could visit their scrap library. In the scrap library were loads of images taken out of magazines including images of how an old western town should look, What main street USA might look  and more, so much more.  All curated, in alphabetical order filling 20 or more filing cabinets.  It was amazing. I had access to the same material Imagineers and the original designers of Disneyland had.

Now I teach 3D, and I need some cool images, of which I usually search for on the day. But why not use Pinterest, as my scrap library with amazing images useful for inspiring cool 3D images.  From architectural, science fiction, NASA,, lighting examples, designs  exteriors, the elements and more, I will create my scrap library, and it will be good.

If you have suggestions let me know, I am grateful for any help.  Find me on Google Pluse

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Halo 4 a love story

Be careful there are some spoilers in this post.

With Microsoft's 343 Industries taking over the Halo franchise I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief as we started playing the campaign. Graphics are jaw dropping. Even my wife said she liked the look of the game, and that's a first. Halo 4 is true to franchise.

The campaign follows in true Halo fashion, with one addition, conversations between Master Chief and Cortana.  With Cortana's suffering from rampancy (AI decline, madness, maybe death). Master Chief must not only save the world, he must also save the girl.  The enemies you meet, trials you overcome pale in comparison to the Chief's need to save Cortana.  Although the enemies and trials are amazing.


Halo 4 Multiplayer  rocks. Customisation of your spartan is as standard with special armour and helmets. New loadouts gives you various types of weapons to suit the map you are fighting on. With some of the weapon and armour choices it helps even the fields. You earn better weapons as you rank up. I like playing Halo Multiplayer. In previous games I felt like a permanent noob.  At least now I can leave the field of battle with some pride, I feel multiplayer is  much better balanced.

Spartan Ops

Brand new to Halo, episodes (maps) that be played co-operative and by yourself.

343 Industries has kept the Halo Flame alive with a great new version of Halo. It's fun, the campaign is amazing and the graphics are eye popping.  If you doubted, don't, have faith and go enjoy Halo 4.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Xbox SmartGlass

I've been using Xbox SmartGlass on my Lumia 710. Wow! as soon as I started using it, I thought this was the way it was supposed to be done. With  the Xbox on, run SmartGlass and it connects to the Xbox. In it's most basic form it gives you a touch based interface on your phone for navigation on the Xbox. Depending on what you are watching/using additional information is available. On netflix it was showing me info about tv shows and films. Nothing on BBC iPlayer. But more content will have SmartGlass links in the future.  Now to see if I can update the 710 to Windows Phone 7.8

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Life and Death of MIcrosoft Flight

Good bye Flight

I think I am still in shock since Microsoft cancelled Flight. I love flight sims. I understood why Flight did not have passenger jets etc.  It was a sim/game for people who wanted to experience flight. It was sort of a sport/bush pilot sim more than anything.  And when Alaska and the Carbon Cub came out I was overjoyed. I loved the game. I was even putting together a post on using glidesope etc. I may still, but it still hurts.  What  makes it worse with the cancellation of Flight is any hope of Flight Simulator in the future. I still may fly, the community managers at Flight's Facebook page said they will maintain the servers and marketplace.  It was just something I really enjoyed.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Microsoft Flight Part II

I've been playing Microsoft Flight for a few weeks now and I am enjoying it more than ever. The more I fly in MS Flight I have come to realise the flight model is much closer to a simulation than a just a game. I also think you'll have more fun flying with a joystick. I played the free version, upgraded to the full Hawaiian islands and downloaded the Maule. The Maule was one of my favourite planes from Flight Simulator X. It's from flying the Maule that makes me think Flight is more of a simulation. I started by flying the Icon A5 which is very easy and stable to fly (even when set to the harder flight settings). The wing on the A5 is similar to a glider which I believe makes it easy to fly.

What suspends my dis-belief even more in Flight is the ability to use radio navigation. All the VOR's, ILS etc are there for you. To find the navigation radio information go to the map, select "Legend" then you can tick a box that makes radio navigation beacons appear on the map. I got that tip from Flight's Facebook page. The Maule and Van's RV-6 both have navigation radios, plus the RV-6 has ILS/Glidescope. I have not tried ILS/Glidescope landings yet, but there is a landing challenge for the RV-6 in the game so get familiar with it. I love flying the Maule, then find an airport with a VOR and fly right to it.

Navigating in the Maule

The missions in Microsoft Flight are challenging and fun. Jobs at airports with various freight and charters reminds me of the kind of things my instructor pilots used to do. Flight also have Aerocaches. They give you XP and help you to explore and find interesting places.

Expansion packs and some new planes in Flight are based on Downloadable Content. It seems like this game shouldn't be based on DLC.  But with the Xbox games I play like Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare, Fifa and other all have DLC content. So why DLC with Flight? We are used to this on console games. It's has to be expensive to develop Flight, and even more expensive to continue development. Many of the past products like Flight Simulator X was released, had some service packs, an acceleration pack and that was it from Microsoft. There have been plenty of add-ons from other people but development of the game stopped after the service packs. Other models for flight sims could be like Aces High, where you pay a monthly fee to play. The company gets regular income and the game keeps developing. I welcome DLC with Flight. I hope people pay and Flight keeps getting developed and improved for many years to come. Microsoft have announced the Alaska DLC with 1.5 million square kilometres of scenery, new aircraft and new missions. I can't wait.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Microsoft Flight

Microsoft Flight launched on Leap Day. Flight is billed as an easy to fly game with no special hardware such as a joystick is needed, they suggest you can use the mouse to fly (HA).

I have used Flight Simulator products going back to the 80's with Sublogic's Flight Simulator on my Amiga to Microsoft's Flight Simulator X, with various versions in between. I love FSX with the ability to accurately simulate navigation, flight model etc.  If I want I can fly from Cleveland to Chicago in anything from a DC3 to a 747. One the eve of Flight's release I flew from Yellowknife to Hay River (North West Territories in a DC3).

Microsoft Flight is not aimed the hard core FSX simulator  fans (even though I am one of those). It's a fun and easy to fly game based on what a sport pilot licensee might expect. I've played Flight for a few hours and plan on flying it more. It is fun, but I am using my Logitech joystick with it.  Flying with a mouse is an aberration. The flying experience is based around the big island of Hawaii, I did buy the DLC which gave me the rest of the islands and more missions.  Not sure yet if I will buy the extra planes. The first plane you fly in is the Icon A5,  which should be released in the real world in the near future and was designed for the Sport or leisure pilot. The interior looks more like a sports car than an airplane. For me the dash of the A5 is a bit simple, but it's nice you can land on a runway or on water.  Probably the best part of Flight is the detail in the scenery. Limiting the game to a small area probably helps in this area. The game is free, why not download it and give it a go. I'll let you know in a few weeks if it's so good I bought the extra planes available.

Let's hope we don't have to wait for the next Leap day for a new Flight Simulator from Microsoft.