Blogging since 2007
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All about news and updates of the (MMO)RPG games I play and general news that I deem important enough

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About the MMORPG announcement
21 July 2018
Posted in General

It's been 2 months already since the last post I made on the Pages from Sages blog, and this one will probably really be my last one. In the last post I spoke of a MMORPG I was working on, and things are really getting serious on that front. And while it's a massive project, I thinkn I'll be able to pull it off.

First off, the new website for the upcoming MMORPG, which is called Caul-Dur Adventures. I know I promised to redirect from here, but I figured to keep Pages from Sages as it originally was - a gaming blog.

Then about the fugure of Pages from Sages itself once again. As said, this will most likely be my last post, but I will keep the domain registered to my name. There are too many good memories (some bad as well though ) to all I've written here, and I don't want those memories to be lost in the internet-void forever. I might post an additional update once in a while, but I'm not too sure about that though because of the Caul-Dur Adventures project needing most of my free time.

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The future of Pages from Sages - or rather a MMORPG announcement
16 May 2018
Posted in General

You might have noticed that I haven't posted for almost half a year already on this blog, or rather the old blog. Yes, I have moved the original Pages from Sages blog to a subdomain and started completely anew. What changed and why this (not so?) sudden change..?

For starters, the reason I started blogging was in my Lineage II playing time and later on other MMOs I played. But after a couple of years of playing online games, I kinda got burned out by a lot! I switched to PlayStation 4 playing (which I'm still doing on a daily basis), and bought Elite Dangrous for the P4 when it became available. Elite Dangerous went for me the way of playing MMOs, which for short, I kinda got burned out and lost interest. Though I gotta say that I did play it quite a lot it's first half year (about 1 month of total playtime).

Secondly, and I think I've mentioned that a couple of times on my old blog, Pages from Sages was not intended as a blogging site, but as a d100 based RPG system I wanted to develop. I started that development quite a while ago (around the turn of the millennium) with great things in mind, but at the time (long before ebooks and how we know the web as distribution and marketing system now). Needless to say, this idea kinda died as well and I had the domain already registered.

And now to the MMORPG announcement....
The title of the blog currently tells d20 project. While d20 is a 'registered' trademark of Wizards of the Coast, they can not legally trademark it because the term has been used for decades to refer to the 20-sided dice. And this is where the MMORPG announcement comes into place...

Half 2015 I wanted to code the d20 RPG system (which is basically Dungeons & Dragons 3.x). Sadly, when reading through the whole legal thing, it appeared that using the d20 RPG system I cannot create a character and (more importantly) I can not make a computer game from it. That was quite a bummer but I kept searching and found the System Reference Document 3.5. This SRD3.5 is published under the Open Gaming License (much like the GNU license) and I can do whatever I want with the SRD3.5, as long as I include the OGL document with it - NOW WE'RE TALKING!

Sadly though, bad stuff happened and the d20 project changed from Fantasy to Modern (a lot less work) and early this year back to Fantasy again.
Around that time I also started (again) on experimenting with server and client connections in Unity3D again (I know, I have not really posted anything about that, only a very few twitter mentions). By now that server-client project is fully functional allowing to logon multiple users (max test was 16 on my PC) all pickinga name and a working in-game chat-server.
Another thing important for a MMORPG is a database connection. This I have also figured out under Unity3D and I am able to use a MySQL database directly from my code without a HTML call. Why mention the HTML call? Well, most people coding with Unity3D will tell you NEVER to use MySQL (or any other database) directly for security reasons. Not sure what they were smoking, but when I code the MySQL calls in the server only I don't see a security issue at all...

There you have it, all ingredients to make a MMORPG. Now all we need is the time to work on the code, build the world and get 'adventures' going. Not to mention, a general idea on how and what with the MMORPG in general.
Oh yes, I mentioned WE. I won't be working this beast alone. I will do most of the coding. My brother will be working on the world using GeoVOX (some discontinued terrain editor/world builder using Unity3D files) as well as work out most of the story (he always was a hell of a GM back in the days). Music will be written by my son, who has already composed several pieces of music.
Aside of that, all 3 of us also have to learn some other skills, like 3D modelling (blender) for buildings and creating characters (makehuman), as well as animation of these characters in Unity3D.

Last but not least, I'm aiming to have a prototype available by the end of the year. With the knowledge/skills I have now I can have the server and client completely running, but environment (buildings etc) and characters might lack a bit. Also worth to note that our MMORPG will be totally Free2Play without any Pay2Win elements (there will be a cash shop though for cosmetics and XP-boost potions).
Last but not leat (again), the MMORPG will most likely NOT get the name Pages from Sages. IF/when we change the name (and with that domain), I will forward from here to the new domain

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Colonia and back again
04 December 2017
Posted in Elite Dangerous

It's been a boring time for me the last 2 weeks. While 'grinding' Empire reputation I stumbled upon 5 tourist missions that would bring me to 2 locations in the Colonia region. The combined reward of these missions would come down to 115M credits and a medium reputation increase per mission (read: about 2.5% each). While both the monetary reward and reputaion increase were not that high, I had to pick them up, because from previous missions I had a 1 week bounty of 13k credits on me for the Aditi Empire League.

And there a maximum of 4 boring weeks started. Me, my Beluga Liner and 22k Ly to fly. The distance is even *THAT* big, that regular exploration is out of the question. If I'd scan each and every star, planet and moon I'd encounter than I'd not even reach halfway to Colonia within the set time limit for the missions. So I decided to only look for the 3 most important items in a solar system: Water Worlds, Ammonia Worlds and Earth-like Worlds, and I have found a couple of dozen of those along the way.

Since it was my 1st time to Colonia, I had to get to the system's nav beacon, which is always  a tricky thing with long-range passengers. Most of the time (close to always!) they are secretive about their mission and don't want your ship to be scanned by anyone (3-strikes and out on scans BTW). Also, these long-range missions, when you've reached the objective there is a chance that they will give a small (5-10%) bonus if you make it back to the point of origin without being scanned. And for that reason I decided to go to Colonia first and then head for the 2nd objective (Grey Sector, about 2k Ly 'west' of Colonia).

The way back was as boring as the way to Colonia. Once again, me, my Beluga Liner and 22k Ly to cover and it all went once again without a problem. Yet, arriving at Aditi, my paint was quite messed up. I've seen pictures of other commanders that have flown over 45k Ly and their paint looked as if they just departed from the station, but somehow my paint isn't quite as UV and heat resistant as those commanders have on their ships

As said, everything went well, but back in Aditi I almost messed up. While docking I somehow misclicked the arrow button to enable landing gear and I ended up pressing the circle button alone (circle and arrow down combined toggles landing gear on the PS4). So instead of entering slowly and with my rail wings down because my landing gear was out, I boosted through the mailslot of the station

All in all, everything went well and yes, it was a boring 2 weeks, but the pay was good. In total I recieved around 250M credits and the bounty on my head was gone (which is why I picked those missions up in the first place). Sadly though, the reputation gain wasn't as good though - I only gained about 20%. On the positive side (for me then), the Aditi system is in civil war now, so with the 250M I earned I could donate a lot to help the controlling faction's efforts to surpress the war and that gave me enough rep to get the Naval mission and receive the Achenar system permit.

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Ubuntu is now my main OS
08 November 2017
Posted in Linux

I've been experimenting with Linux for about a year and a half by now, and on my main PC for close to 5 months by now. In those 5 months I've learned a lot about Ubuntu and Linux in general and am finally ready to say my Windows 7 Ultimate x64 install goodbye - well, sort off...

First things first though...

The reason to shift from Windows to Linux were numerous and I'll recap them quickly:
  - Windows 7 is on it's 'end of life' cycle
  - Windows 10 (I can upgrade) violates my privacy BIG TIME
  - Since owning my PS4 Pro I'm no longer gaming on my PC
  - SECURITY in general (virus protection and hacking are close to non-existant on Linux)
  - Coming from OS/2, I never really liked Windows in the first place

The main problem with switching to Linux was my programming efforts though. With the Unity3D engine already being in beta for about a year (and still is in beta BTW), I figured that hopping to Linux would be easy.
     How wrong I was! 
Yes, the switch itself was easy - just import the projects in the new (Linux) version of Unity3D and it works. It's all those 3rd party tools that I've been using for the last 4 years causing problems. A lot of them are available for Mac OSX (and not even all of them ), while only a handfull are available for Linux

For the tools that don't have a Linux port (yet) I tried WINE, but that was a big no-no because of the nature of most of these tools. Yes, most did run, but all with a big BUT. Almost all had problems with loading and saving the projects (most likely from the different Linux file systems), and a couple had odd quirks where graphics would not load correctly, while even one (the flowchart tool I use) ended up with totally different results.

So WINE was not an option, and I searched for alternatives and ended with virtual machines. There are half a dozen available for Linux and I tried two of them (VirtualBox by Oracle and VMware Player by VMware) to check for the differences, and they are HUGE.
  VirtualBox is completely free, and as usual, you get what you pay for meaning that it WILL run virtual machines, but the support for DX11 is just bad. The same thing goes with a lot of other hardware calls that are handled oddly. Big PLUS for VirtualBox is that it doesn't run so heavy on my machine compared to VMware Player.
  VMware Player is my main choice right now. Reason being the perfect integration of (virtual) hardware calls and handling - I was even able to install the Elgato HD Game Capture device with it (though streaming handling sucked for it). VMware Player also runs 95% of the applications flawlessly, and those that it doesn't run mostly use direct hardware calls. There are 2 problems though with VMware Player:
  - It runs extremely heavy on my machine, at times using 100% CPU power - even when only 1 core is assigned.
  - It's commercial software with a free license for non-commercial use (allowing 1 box) and purchase of a full license is 275

Sadly though, even with VMware Player there is still 1 tool that's not running under Linux/VM. And while it's not a tool I use a lot, I still have my Windows install (set to a minimum) on my system just in case I need it. I only hope that this last tool will be ported to Linux though...

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B12 difficiency still a problem
08 November 2017
Posted in About me

Yeah, what to say..? I've been diagnosed with a B12 difficiency since October 2014 and things don't seem to improve by a lot...

Normally when someone is diagnosed with a B12 difficency, they will recieve 2 suppleting injections a week for 5 to 6 weeks (I've had those)/ After that the injections will become less regular, and normally will be monthly for half a year, and after that once every 2 or 3 months (in most cases the rest of the patients life).

As usual, with me things go quite an other way than 'normal'. For the last 3 years I've had my B12 shots every other week, until late July this year. My doctor went on holiday, I've been busy painting my house and that's when I first had my B12 shot after 3 1/2 weeks. I felt still good at the time and decided to give it a shot (yes, pun intended) to get my B12 once every 3 weeks.

Sadly though, the last 2 shots I've had on my 3rd week I suffered from severe fatigue again and the cluster-alike headaches I used to have came up again  It's clear that my tripple psychological 'handicap' uses up a lot of B12 in only 2 weeks and I'm back on a B12 shot every other week again...

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There and back again
10 October 2017
Posted in Elite Dangerous

I know I haven't posted for a while, but I've been quite busy with 3 missions I picked up. I thought I had all the time of the world for them, but next time I take a (tourist) mission that pays 28M credits, I *REALLY* need to look at the distance the tourist wants to go to (over 22.000 Ly ). The same goes for anything above 5M, because an other mission paid 9.5M and for that one I had to fly roughly 19.000Ly. The only positive thing of this all is that those 2 far away missions were relatively close to eachother...
Those two missions brought me around Colonia, which in turn is "close" to Saggitarius A*, and while in the neighborhood I figured to make a 'small' detour to get that trophy associated with it.

And well, Saggitarius A*. I expected a lot, but it was a huge let down to be honest, but what would you expect from a black hole The only thing interesting in that 'system' is the tourist point there as well as that pretty big class B blue-white star, which was quite a nice sight to fly toward to.

Now back in the Bubble again, I decided to participate in the current Community Goal, and make the Anaconda ready for real deep space exploration. I'm looking at my setup for it and I hope that I have all important things ready, but I will ask on reddit for opinions. Best thing of the Anaconda is that she can now jump a maximum of 30Ly, which was 25Ly before I returned.

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Not there and back again
14 September 2017
Posted in Elite Dangerous

July 26th I headed out for Sagittarius A*. I did that with my standard Asp Explorer (I didn't know I could upgrade core internal components ) with some engeneering boosts and figured to explore a bit along the way. What I didn't know was that the flight would be a lot longer than I expected...

Yes I knew that I'd have to fly 25kLy to get there, but I did not realize that when exploring along the way the trip would take forever. Aside from the pretty small jump range from my AspX (12Ly max), the exploration of the star systems I encountered took a lot of time as well. It's been a good thing though that the further out of the 'Bubble' you go, the more chance you have to encounter previously undiscovered systems, and that's where I made quite some money.

During one of my streams of the exploration flight I also had some good hints on how to upgrade my AspX to get a bigger jump range (about 50Ly max), along with some other very nice tweaks. When I hit the asteroid base in the Omega Sector (which was my 3rd asteroid base, but the first one with an outfitting station), I figured to add those customizations to my ship. Money was no problem, because I made almost 300M credits from selling the maps of the unexplored systems along the way. Too bad, the Omega Sector base only has E-class (standard) equipment, and I still had a 20kLy to go to Sagittarius A*.
At that point I had 2 choices, either keep going, or fly the 5kLy back and get the upgrades in the 'Bubble'.

Obviously I picked the latter option, but only partly. I headed back, bought myself an Anaconda and upgraded it as far as the money would allow. I also hopped into the current Community Goal and started to trade with the 352 ton cargo bay I had available for it (I ended up in the 50% tier in only 1 1/2 days).

Now I'm back on making money, running missions in the 'Bubble' so I can get a few more upgraded coponents (a Power Plant 7A costs as much as the Anaconda herself...) and also go for the Sol permit (amongst others). When I have the feeling that I've done almost everything that I'll head back to Saggitarius A* and beyond...

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Bipolar diagnosis - 1 year annaversary..?
26 August 2017
Posted in About me

Today a year ago I was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and while i already suspected having it for about 3 years, I was glad to have the diagnosis. Though the cause of what made the confirmation was a bit less. Lets recap a bit for that last year (and a bit longer back)...

Somewhere in 2012 I talkes with a cousin of me who's been diagmosed with bipolar for quite a while. I visited her in the period after I had my diagnosis for Asperger's syndrome and ADD. We talked a bit about our psychological problems and after her story I suspected I might have a bipolar disorder as well, while she thought the might have Asperger's syndrome (which is also quite possible - she is REAL smart and pretty analytic in her thoughts, yet she is also very social...).

The thought of me possebly being bipolar kept nagging, but I didn't give it too much attention. Late 2015 I went back into therapy for my Asperger's syndrome and ADD. While the therapy didn't really teach me anything new (there's still no cure for autism, either therapy or medication), the depressions that I had from time to time kept coming.

On july 12th 2016 I spoke with my psych about my regular depressions (without mentioning bipolar!) and he came with the thought himself. He asked me to keep a mood log for the coming month and if it was possible for me to get my general moods from the last 3 years back (thank God for this blog, my Steam purchases and programming activities). The mood curve from the last 3 years showed a 'nice' sinus curve. This curve started with a 7-month period from depression to depression (with hypo-manic in between) and ended with about 4 to 5 months.In the mean time I was still recording the current month's mood, untill August 8th happened.

My therapist more or less confirmed that I'd have a bipolar disorder. But she's only a therapysts and not a psych, so it was not official (yet). My psych was at that moment on his holiday break, and I had intensive contact with my therapist in the mean time. When my psych came back I was immediately scheduled for an appointment and that was today a year ago. He immediately (after having read the reports from my therapyst) confirmed that I have a bipolar disorder.

At that moment the road for medication started. And while I'm not a fan of (chemical) medication, I figured that i'd have to give in to it. But with my history of allergic to extreme allergic reactions to different kind of medication, my psych didn't want to take any chance and ordered for a gen examination first (CYP1A2 and CYP2C9 enzimes) first, which showed later that I'm 'low metabolic' for the requested medication types (anti-depressives and anti-psychotics), meaning I need to start with a very low dosage and probably will keep side effects as long as I'm using it.
An other problem with medication is that my cholesterol is fairly high (always between 6.9 and 7.2, where normally 6.0 is the maximum), but that's a family related thing and ever since I know of it (20 years already) it's been around those values, whatever my weight is. This cholesterol problem also limits the 'choise' of medication for my psych.
So I ended up with Depakine, taking only 600mg a day (for my weight I should have around 3000mg a day ;;)), and after the first tests I already was pretty close to the therapeutical values in my blood...

Then December came and I had yet an other pretty deep depression period. This time knowing the cause, my psych proscribed Cipramil (1 drop a day, where 16 is normal), and that totally backfired. That one drop made me so fatigued that I slept through most of the day At least it did get me out of the worst part of the depression...
March was up next and my psych gave me Depakine up front as a 'just in case'. Mut that March depression was shallow. I was tired (not overly fatigues), and down, so I didn touch the anti-depressives...
And then June/July this year. This time the 'missing' depression from March joined up and I had a long and deep one. This time I also took the Depakine (30mg a day) after about 5 weeks when it went too deep, and yes it helped me through it! I even asked for an other month's ration of Depakine for the next depression period I'll get...

In general I'm more than happy with my diagnosis. I know where I stand now when I'm both hypo-manic and depressed, and more importantly I GET HELP for it. It's no longer a 'Oh, depression periods  comes with autism and ADD combined' remark (which I had a lot in the past), but I'm actual suffering from a bipolar disorder. That also means my wife can keep a better eye on me moods as well so she can see an episode (either depression or hypo-manic) coming and perhaps even before I see it myself.
...perhaps it is an annaversary after all...

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Diablo III (PS4) Witch Doctor crashes with CE-34878-0 from Lob Blob Bomb
19 August 2017
Posted in PlayStation

I've had CE-34878-0 issues before with a PS Vita game. Googleing the issue I found out that it was related to corrupted data and it could be resolved in 3 days:
  1. Reinstall the game
  2. Remove the game save data (or upload to cloud and then download again)
  3. Reinitialize the device
Needless to say that option 3 is always a last resort, and certainly in this case for my PS4 with a 2Tb HDD that'll take ma hours to reinstall all games I have on it.

Instead I started with option 1 first, but sadly to no avail. Then option 2, and still the problem remained. As said, option 3 is a no-go for me, so Google once more is (NOT) my friend. There I learned that more PS4 Pro owners had this problem and that is might be caused by a memory leak. I was 100% that it's not a memory leak because I've played that Witch Doctor for days already without any problems so far.

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So it became time to look at my skills and I figured that my somewhat high survivability (I've topped 3.5M survivability with my 30 pets out) in combination with the Zombie Dogs' Leeching Beasts rune since every time the game crahes I had full life. That theory was valid until I noticed a crash when I was at 10% health.

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That was one viable theory down the drain. That'd mean I had to get back to my original character setup and start a trail & error course to find out what was causing the crashes. Pretty soon I found out that it was a combination of the The Grin Reaper's passive skill Chance when attacking to summon horrific Mimics that cast some of your equipped skills (remove the chance - I have them almost constantly around ) with the Acid Cloud skill using the Lob Blob Bomb rune. That combination was my best DPS setup I had at the time but crashed the PS4 constantly.
So I removed the The Grin Reaper and all went well, untill I bumped into my brother's Nemesis (I played on Torment 11 at the time). I'm still not sure if at that moment I had an other elite left to battle (I had a blue group and a yellow one right before he popped, and I think I killed them all, but not entirely sure). That Nemesis game me a hard time and I started spamming the Acid Cloud with the Lob Blob Bombs. In answer he spammed his freeze area's (I saw at least 5 on the ground) and his ground acid skill (hald the walkeble ground was greenish already). This all resultd in yet an other crash of my PS4
Next up I decided to reequip the The Grin Reaper and remove the Lob Blob Bomb from the Acid Cloud and it's been a smooth ride ever since. My brother and I have played for hours with my new setup already and have managed to play Torment 12 with no problems at all (though it goes slow....).

Needless to say that only one rune is pretty bugged. I'm not sure if it's one that'll pop up on lower levels, but during end-game batteling elite monsters that do a lot of skills it'll be bound to happen sooner than later. While I'm still not sure on the WHY of this bug, I think that the movement of the Lob Blob Bombs created either a memory leak or triggers too many timers (certainly when the Mimics spam Acid Cloud as well). Needless to say that when playing a Witch Doctor I can't use the best DPS setup I could find

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Photobucket out, Imgur in
19 August 2017
Posted in General

Some choises are very easy, and this one is a no-brainer... I noticed earlier this year that photobucket is no longer allowing me to share images from their site on my blog. They give me the option to share if I upgrade my account. I figured to take a peek and well... $399/year for the upgrade to share the images on my site. Even my ISP is 99% cheaper than that and gives me enough bandwith. But I'm pretty lazy and don't want to chance that I get over my bandwith, so I decided to hop to Imgur instead...

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The only problem is that I have to do some more work. Where Photopucked gave me some nice copy/paste links to implement in the blog directly, Imgur comes with a link to share a whole album. If I want just one image from the album (which is what I mostly need for the blog), I need to insert the image first, and then add a link to the image on Imgur. Oh well, I think I can live with that

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