Monday, 18 March 2013

WarThunder - Epic Fail & 20mm Auto Cannons

I've not much to say this evening, I got one game of WarThunder in earlier, and it was an utter fail, however I did have time at work (during lunch and my measly 15 minute breaks) to create a narrated video of my experience failing at playing decently, you can check it out on my YouTube Channel here... Be gentle with me.

However, I've also just got through watching the Discovery Channel show "Sons Of Guns", its season 3 over here in the UK, and this was the second - or third, I forget - episode.  Any-hew, they put back together a 20mm Autocannon of Japanese origin, the same gun in fact from the Zero fighter... Apt for the game I'm so deeply engrossed at the mo!

They didn't fire the gun, it was perhaps too delicate or too precious, definitely too expensive - $55,000 worth.  But could perhaps have been the only example still in existence - according to the show commentary - outside of a museum, since so many were destroyed as the Japanese fighters were hacked from the skies.

Friday, 15 March 2013


My footage on YouTube...

Please watch in 1080 HD

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Laptop Patched Up - Huzzah!

I patched the laptop up with an old 100gb 5400 RPM drive, and of course the first thing I installed - apart from all the Micro$oft patches and the latest nVidia drivers - was WarThunder...

I'm actually trying to work out a good way to grind/earn crew XP points.  I did get 33+ of them in one Historical Battle, and 36 in a further one I took part in.  But as of last night Historical Battles - even ones I did well in - don't seem to be awarding as many crew XP points... Which is disappointing.

I did however have a nice encounter with the dynamic damage system - as you can see in this Historical Battle I got shot up and had an engine out but managed to pull off a landing.

This stands in stark contrast with an Arcade mission I then did whilst waiting for a free repair... Where instead of landing nicely, I did this:

Being Arcade Battle however, you can't keep a good Spitfire down...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Laptop, Teeth and Pain

A very brief post for today folks, today has been a painful day, in more than one respect... First of all, last night my laptop went tits up.

More specifically my shiney year old kick add 8 core laptop had its hard drive give up the ghost, now... this annoys me, as I think a hard drive should last more than a year, but opening the machine up and taking the drive out I'm a little more annoyed as it does look like the supplier put a fucking refurbished unit in there...

I have no specific evidence for this, beyond personal experience, for you see the drive is mounted in a plastic lined caddy - yet has some wear over one of the screw holes, as if its been scrapped around before fitting... Also the drive has a date of 18th July 2011, more than a year before I bought the machine... Not good... Noot Good... However, this is an excuse to buy a new - better - bigger hard drive - so there's more data for it to loose next time.

However, I've got an old 100gb drive I've just put in, which is having Windows installed on it as we speak.... WINDOWS!!?!?!? yes, and not just Windows, but VISTA!... Yeah baby.  Not cus I want Windows, but because I want to play WarThunder!  And Vista, because that's what I own - yeah I'm all legal peeps.

The other pain comes from my teeth - I hate dentists - sorry all dentists, but your lying ass holes - "It doesn't hurt"... Snap... PAIN! - So I've not been to a dentist in over 15 years, and today I had a tooth crack... yes crack, and not just crack a little, I mean the thing split from top to bottom...

And what caused this massive dental trauma?.... A biro!  I bit down on a biro.

Anyway, here's a coupld of WarThunder screen shots... The first is my Spitfire Mk II... Nothing new, I've had it over a week, but I love it so....

And the second screen shot is of my crew points screen - after a Historical Battle - It seems yes, Historical Battled give great XP and great crew point rewards - if you survive and participate.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

WarThunder - Team Trends

I have noticed a series of trends whilst playing WarThunder, which trend your mission seems to take depends largely on three things:

i) Whether the pilots on the opposing team know what they're doing.
ii) Whether the pilots on your team know what they're doing
iii) How you initially assess the situation at hand.

What I mean by "know what they're doing" I essentially mean they are not the "hair on fire, rush in screaming" type. Which naturally don't last long in a dog fight, and nor are they they "hop into a reserve and ram" type - though I've seen more and more tier 3-4 pilots doing this as they only start to respect repair times as they either run out of cash, run out of free repairs, or usually run out of both.

But how one initially assesses the situation is important, I played the game before I watched any of the YouTube content out there, and I was so-so. After watching it, and learning some, I'm a better player.  One thing that I have learned from videos is to assess the situation, beware of position and situation oneself to take advantage of others lack of attention.

So, often I can make a good two or three passes and get a few kills, or ground hits in, but then the first trend comes into play, if the opposing team have a clue they get me, they'll have someone latch onto me and have me out of there as the biggest threat.  I do, sometimes - rarely, get gifted the blessing of escape because they're not very good but the vast trend is that I get latched onto and hacked from the sky.

Enter trend number 2, the most common way to get a fighter off ones tail is to drag them away from their own forces and towards ones own team, so they - your own team - can shoot them off your tail for you... But, as per point 2, I've seen a huge trend of my own team being as clueless as a bag of cats.  I've dragged enemy fighters kilometres away from their own support, jinking left and right, rolling and rudder turning to keep them from getting a deflection shot on me... And just seen the opponent on my tail act like an opposite pole magnet to my team, who as clueless as they are scatter away from this easy meat who is intent on hacking me out the sky.

My frustration either ends with my turning the tables on my pursuer - but this is rarer than rocking horse shit - or in my plummeting to a fiery death from their spitting hot lead into me during the pursuit.  This isn't to say I don't ever get support, but despite what some commentators say about bringing pursuers to your team to let them scrape them off you, rarely does this seem to happen in the kind of games I'm getting into - I wish it would.

And then the third, self inflicted, trend kicks in... This is usually where one has played well, got a good team, and the opponents are clueless - or seemingly so - and you push them back and back sweeping the skies and land clean of their forces.  Situationally the area is clear - but you forget the golden rule (or arcade battles) this is a computer game and suddenly they rejoin the game, sometimes with vastly better position and aircraft than yourself - this popping up from thin air is a common problem on the Port Attack map, where the inland defenders appear almost directly above the main - usually final - carrier targets the aggressive incoming team have to destroy.  Loose, or forget, that they're going to potentially pop out of thin air above you whilst you torpedo that carrier and you're a sucker punch they'll love to own.

That all said, I have no counter to these trends, I'm trying to be more objective and think about unseen opponents spawning above and/or behind me, but sometimes its hard to remember they might come up - and switching to the team score chart to check is sometimes impossible.  As for the other trends they're not spoiling the game for me, I just wish I were part of an organised crew - squadron - but I can't really dedicate myself to the time, I'm very much a solo casual game player - not least because voice comms are a no-no at the time of night I get to play; with the wife in bed just feet away.

Monday, 11 March 2013

C++ (Sprintf in String) STD Bug (cout)

I have noted a curious difference, perhaps one could say a bug, in the Visual C++ runtime when using std::string with cout...
Now, first of all, what I'm doing it not standard fiar, but lets jump to some code and see what we think it should do...

#include <string>
#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int main (int p_argc, char* p_argv[])
string l_output;
for (int i = 0; i < 1000; ++i)
memset(&l_output[0], 0, l_output.length());
sprintf(&l_output[0], "\r%i\0", i);
cout << l_output;

return 0;

I expect this code to run in a loop, to output on the same line the numbers 0 through 999, without the newline character being involved, as you can see my sprintf call just returns the carriage, outputs the number and nulls the string for good measure.

But, this is not what happens the call to "cout" results in newlines each call... it seems passing the std::string directly to "cout" causes this, it treats the string as a whole line.

We can stop this with a code change to force the type of char* to be used...

#include <string>
#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int main (int p_argc, char* p_argv[])
string l_output;
char* l_temp = &l_output[0];
for (int i = 0; i < 1000; ++i)
memset(l_temp, 0, l_output.length());
sprintf(l_temp, "\r%i\0", i);
cout << l_temp;

return 0;

And this works perfectly as expected....

Please note, in the screen shot I had to increase the loop length on the second code example as it competed so quick I could not get a a print screen press before 1000 iterations ended!

I've not gotten to the bottom of this one yet, nor have I checked it out in G++ on linux or on older Visual C++ versions, I had VS2010 in use and spotted this going on... Annoying.

BTW - Yes, this is a good way to use sprintf and string formatting with a std::string.

Update - This does appear to be a bug, it seems the cout::operator<<(std::string) function assumes a return carriage, new line (\r\n) at the end, treating this as a "WriteLine", rather than an out string, and so you have to cout << stringValue.c_str(); to avoid this problem.

Deathly Music Mash

I think my random playlist of stuff on my iPod just found a paradox of the soul….

It played “Hurt” from Johnny Cash… and then is playing… Waltz No 2 from the Jazz Suite No 2 by Shostakovitch….

Anyway, these two songs… They sort of melded on my brain and I have this image of classic 17th Century people dancing in a grand ball, whirling around and around and slowly their flesh peels away, they’re all dead, they have been dead many decades their dances are over, their lives snuffed out by the press of time…. As so shall we all be.

It’s a weird powerful thought.

Planted by Cash and watered by Shostakovitch.

And yes, I know that the Waltz was written in the 20th Century, but my mind does tend to wonder all of its own accord.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Fly the Spitfire

Seems lots of people are jumping into WarThunder, the venerable Frankie of DayZ fame is flying around and so is my old chum (and Day of Defeat master) Chaplain.

I'm still in the game a lot, though I only seem to get to fly late at night and that may change next week as I'll be back at work and unable to get away from the wife as easily.

However, for those of you out there with a copy of the game I thought I'd share a replay for you all, this is myself going out on a Domination map in my RAF crates, I start off with a very successful run in my spitfire Mk I, a plane which I've not overly used - it was being flown in my number 2 slot so didn't even have my best fighter trained crew but it flew so well I counted many kills in it.

Here are the stats, the replay file I'll post at the end as a link to... well to somewhere.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Still playing WarThunder, but keep getting dropped from the server - and its not my end - seems the servers are either being flaky with me, or there's something deeper going on... But it is annoying as I was just in line for quite a large reward from a mission, as I not only had a lot of bomb hits in my Beaufort, but I had four air kills in the Beaufighter - all in all I had around two 5x ground streaks and two 3x air streak awards, I'd have gotten the bomber award too and perhaps the assists award.

But, I won't get anything cus I suddenly got the message:

This is happening a lot today, and I think its their end because the build number of the version of game running has changed from up and up....

And then I got this in the launcher - so that is an update.

Update: I'm back in and annoyingly it says I quit the mission... Gah....

Beufighter - WarThunder

I'm beginning to find my stride in WarThunder, my preferred method of fighting is to zoom and boom, this is to play a fighter or destroyer (twin engine fighter) gain altitude and dive down and attack low fliers and then zoom back up with the speed I've gained.

I have a slight bias to the British Beaufighter - because of its high speed and heavy armament of four 20mm cannon - and the Japanese Ki-43 for its elegance and twin 50 .cal machine guns - but also because my Japanese crews have quite a lot of points put into reload to I can burn through all the shells in the dive and twist up reloading for the next run.

I have, by far, clocked up the most kills doing this and by far the most consistent kill rate in the Beaufighter - which I've only been out in maybe 10 times and shot down over 15 aircraft for only two return shoot downs in it.

The trouble is however, I'm having a really disturbed time playing this afternoon.  I would normally be at work, but I'm having a week off stay-cation.  The trouble is, this means the wife see's me doing "nothing".... Yesterday, whilst doing "nothing", I managed to... Go get a new Battery fitted to the car, get the other car's exhaust checked, buy petrol, paint two door frames with primer and then gloss, move two big boxes out of the loft, help mow my father-in-laws lawn - and get the mower petrol - hoover the lounge and reception room, empty and put the dishwasher on twice - to catch up - clean the shower and clean the kitchen.  Then I cooked.... All that whilst doing "nothing".

The wife managed to iron four shirts and two pairs of trousers and acted the hero throughout... I however just wanted to get back to my beaufighter, however, I was prevented from doing so come early evening by the need to sit and pretend to want to spend some time with the wife, as she proceeded to watch Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Coronation Street again and then some drama about a missing girl... All that, left me at 10pm either going to watch the new series of Sons Of Guns - which I eventually missed - or get back to my piloting... I took to the controls and never looked back.

I've also had two network drop outs mid-game... They were going well too, with a couple of kills.

My favourite Beaufighter kill was a HE-111, which I saw 7km away about 3km up, whilst I was skimming away from a low sweep kill of an F4F - which is a story all of its own - but I climbed from the sweep and up to around 2700 meters, the He-111 pilot must have simply not seen me, or assumed I was low, cus he flew straight and level as my four cannons lit him up... Comically the distinctive glass clad nose section of his bomber flew on for around 50 meters as the rest of the plane splintered up.  On that occasion I was then jumped by a P39 and had to dive away to nearly 550km/h to escape but I took some damage and had to land on an airstrip to repair before rejoining the fray taking out a Blenheim and a PBY.

And this is what the game is like, stunningly pretty - even on low settings - and every mission has a dozen little stories all to be told, its no wonder there are so many good - and some bad - YouTube channels publishing content from the game - even the eponymous Frankie has had a go.

Amazon AWS - Very Reasonable People

I'm going to lax lyrical about the really great customer service I've had from Amazon AWS.  I tried the free usage tier last year, and thought I had shut it all off, indeed I the dashboard for the service at the time let me think it was all closed down - and hence accruing no costs.

However, I had missed an Elastic IP, it was going to nothing, but was still assigned.  So I got charged $2.48.  I was a little peeved at this, and had to recover the account password to log on and try to work out what was going on.  The new dashboard let me see the resource and release it.

But, I had already been charged, for effectively nothing.  So, I wrote up a quick note to customer services explaining this whole little episode.  It was such a tiny thing, I was willing to update my billing info (my card expired so they couldn't just take the cash)...

Blow me down though, they've replied and agree'd my usage was nothing and not worth billing and refunded me this tiny amount cancelling it all off.  And I'm so very very impressed I've come here to tell you all about this.

The reason being, I've been a customer to several server providers in time, and none have matched this level of speed and meaningful communication, and absolutely none of them have been as helpful nor agreeable.

So, kudos to Amazon.

Monday, 4 March 2013

I wish I were Thor!

Yes, I wish I were Thor, the mythical god of thunder because I've been playing a lot of a game called "WarThunder", and I love it.  I got into it through watching video's pretty much by accident by "jingles" over on YouTube.  But I've since really gotten into the game itself.

And it looks so pretty... Here's my Hurricane landed, on pretty low settings running on my laptop...

Yes its this pretty a game, and I've not even played it on my main gaming PC...

You can play the game for free, though you will progress faster paying for in game gold.  I've not bought a single coin but I'm not doing bad, I've gotten level 5 in general and level 5 in both the UK and Japanese aircraft lines, giving me a decent insight into the early game, and giving me lots of fun.

I am planning on setting up to record some of my game sessions, because you have such great fun doing it.