How Men learn Tuesday, Nov 15 2011 

When Men are inexperienced with the female mind, Woman will ask “Should I wear this dress or that dress”, and the young Man will answer “That one.” Because she looks beautiful no matter what She wears. This is wrong, because Woman will then say “What’s wrong with this one. Don’t you like me in this one, are you saying it makes me look fat?”

As he ages He will learn the ways of a woman’s mind, and will confidently say “Which do you like?” This is wrong, because Woman will say “Why can’t you ever make a decision. Why don’t you take an interest in what I look like?”

Then as he grows older, Man becomes wily, and He answers “What shoes/jacket/bag are you going to be wearing/taking.” And this is the right answer, because She thinks He is showing interest.

After some years Woman begins to suspect. And then the Man becomes wise, and when She asks “Should I wear this dress or that dress” Man knows to say “You’ve worn both of those so many times. I will buy you a new dress. And shoes. And jacket.” And he may be poorer, but at least he gets a few months peace and quiet this way.

“LIFE- The MMRPG” A letter of Complaint. Friday, Nov 4 2011 


I have been playing your ‘First Life’ game for some years now and I wish to register dissatisfaction with some of the so-called features.

1) Lack of manual/in-game help/tool tips.
I realise that you boast an ‘extensive training mission’. What you fail to mention is that this will take approximately 1/3 of the promised 75 year content. Additionally there is little guidance even during this so-called “Schooling period”, and the training is mostly trying stuff out then having other characters telling you are doing it wrong. Even experienced players would welcome tool tips during actions – for instance when reaching for your third alcoholic drink a warning bubble saying “May impare your judgement of interaction with opposite sex” would be helpful.

2) Lack of Save/Load function. 
Given the lack of in-game hints the lack of a Save Game function would appear to be a major omission.  When attempting an action, the failure of which would have negative consequence, it would handy if we could return to a point just before so we can avoid the effects of making a poor choice with no guidance too many times.  This would particularly useful during the ‘Teenage Romance’ sub game, for which there is no documentation.  Frankly all the Romance sub-games are difficult and confusing, and prone to leaving you frustrated.  The Rom-Com training package glosses over much of the difficulties.

3) Effects of other players. 
I note the IPCC Yahoo group has found a bug within the global interaction algorithms.  Apparently this could cause the game world to end prematurely based purely on the actions of other players on different servers.  Even if this is fixable, it is apparent that servers in Africa and Asia are suffering DDOS attacks by resource usage elsewhere.

4) Random Character generation.
Not only does this make it near impossible to achieve some tasks against some players who ‘got lucky’ during the generation process, but that In-Game Credits are not accessible to all, leaving some downloads unavailable to most people- for instance “Sports Car” and “Big House” are two that spring to mind.

5) Non Linear Game play.
“Do boring/repetitive task or starve” doesn’t really count as open-ended.

6) Experience Points
Referenced frequently by the ‘Job’ sub-games, but there is no onscreen count to let you know how you are doing.  Though they appear to be influenced by various tasks/games, there is no indication at the rate of accrual, so you can’t tell whether the amount of XP is worth it.  Additionally some of these sub-games appear to over- or under- award XP: For instance “Art History” and “Engineering” in the ‘University Zone’ often cost the same number of credits, but rumour on the Fan forums is they award different XP.  Is this true?

6a)  Rumour on the ‘Buddah’ Yahoo group is that there is a kind of XP called Karma.  Is this true as it is not referenced in any of the training/instructions?  They claim this allows a second character to be started.

7) End Game routines
I am approximately half way through.  According to more experienced players game experience dramatically reduces during the later stages, with your character becoming slower and less responsive.  It has also been found that the graphics and sound settings deteriorate making it hard to follow the action.  Did you know the ‘Hair’ colour setting can change spontaneously to ‘Grey’ and in male characters even ‘Flesh’?  Additionally there are a number of bugs which can cause parts of the programme to just stop working altogether.

8.) Power-ups/Health Packs
While it is clear that some servers receive too many ‘Weapon packs’, there is a distinct lack of power-ups.  I have repeatedly smashed any number of boxes, crates and other containers, and have yet to receive even one extra power.  Additionally there are no health packs being generated.  Did you mean these only to be available from players who have taken the “Doctor” quest?

I understand that in any product this ambitious there will always be a number of problems.  Do you have any plans to produce a patch we could download?

Yours Sincerely

Wargamer’s Rhapsody Monday, Jul 18 2011 

With apologies to Freddie Mercury…

Is this Renaissance?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a leadslide,
My escape from reality
Put out my figures, but your army’s bigger, oh crap,
I’m just a poor bloke, I need more miniatures,
Because I’m easy meat, and paint too slow, don’t roll high, always low,
Any way the dice fall doesn’t really matter to me,
to me

Oh-no, I just killed a man,
Charged him on too far ahead, rolled my dice, now he’s dead
Dammit, the game had just begun,
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Oh-no, oo-ooh, Didn’t mean to make them die,
I’ve got to play this game again tomorrow,
With no men, with no men, coz nothing now can save me

Too late, my reserves are gone,
I’ve got Artillery on my ranks, and his cavalry on my flanks.
Goodbye, ev’rybody, I’ve got to flee,
Gotta leave you all behind and quit the field
Oh hell, oo-ooh, I don’t want to lose,
I sometimes wish I’d never played these rules at all
Coz nothing now can save me…

I see a little silhouette of a man,
Minus 2, minus 2, on your combat roll
Agincourt and Crecy, very, very messy
(buy more lead) buy more lead (buy more lead) buy more lead, buy more lead At a show, ow, ow, ow.

I’m just a poor Colonel, everybody beats me
I’m just a poor gamer with a lone sentry,
Spare me my figures from your huge army
Hard to paint, easy lose, will you take a draw
Surrender! We will not let you draw
(Let him draw!) Surrender! We will not let you draw
(Let him draw!) Surrender! We will not let you draw
(Let me draw) Will not let you draw
(Let me draw) Will not let you draw (Let me draw) Ah
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh Phil Barker, Phil Barker) 5th edition lets me win
Pendraken has an army put aside for me, for me, for me…

So you think you can flank me and use that old ruse
So you think you can charge me and leave me to lose
Oh, damn it, no matter how much I plan it,
Just gotta pack up, just gotta pack up my men now
Nothing ever works, Anything I try,
Nothing ever works,
Nothing ever works, for me
(Any way the smoke blows)

Destruction of the Death Star, more Cock-Up than Conspiracy Thursday, Aug 5 2010 

Some of you may be aware that Conspiracy Theorists produce many wild theories about the destruction of the Death Star.  How could the galaxy’s mightiest battle station be destroyed by a handful of light fighters, and point out that the pilot that fired fatal shot was the SON of the station commander, who had, unbelievably left combat command to take to the battle in his person fight craft shortly before the Death Star blew up.

However, I have emails sent in the weeks before the battle that tell a different story, and here I present them, Wikileaks style. (more below the fold)


10,000 Monday, Jan 26 2009 

The view counter for the Barracks hit 10,000 at some point in the last 2 hours 15 minutes, and as of 30 seconds ago was on exactly that.

Now to get you buggers posting responses.

Addendum- I’ve only just spotted the spellchecker, and full screen editing of posts, after 21 months!  I should really play with it more to see what else it does.

Free Wargame Rules for Medieval/Wars of the Roses Saturday, Oct 13 2007 

My Kingdom for a Horse  <– Click this link for the Word Document

These rules are for fighting small scale battles with men armed with swords, halberds,  bows etc.  The ‘engine’ is based on a Dark Age set a friend wrote, which I have expanded and polished (I hope) and covers the Wars Of The Roses as well.  Any thoughts queries etc please post here.


Gospel According to Joe (part 2 cont) Friday, May 11 2007 

Continued from here 

There were general nods of agreement around the room.  That made sense: the various ‘Liberation Army”s and “People Front”s spent so much effort on arguing the correct way to liberate Israel, that it made it easier for the Romans to occupy us.“What do we know about him?” Josh asked.The Chief checked his notes again. “Jesus Bar Joseph” – he waited for the laughter directed at me to die down- “son of a Carpenter…” (continued) (more…)

Jesus the petulant teen (at 30 years old) Saturday, May 5 2007 

While researching the events for my “Gospel according to Joe”

Part 1
Part 2
I found a rather odd little incident that happens in the week leading up to the cruxifixion

Feeling hungry Jesus sees a fig tree. On approaching it he finds that figs are out of season, and so the tree is bare of fruit. So what does he do. Does the man who is supposed to be the son of God (who would be the reason the tree is out of season) say “Oh dear”?

No, he throws a hissy fit and curses the tree which then dies- either that day (Matthew 21:19) or the next day (Mark 11:12) depending on which gospel you read- saying that no one will ever eat its fruit again.

Wha…? The Lamb of God, Saviour of Mankind, Mr Forgiveness, throws a temper tantrum?

The Chaos Engine Friday, May 4 2007 

A short story written a few years ago.  Please feel free to comment at the end.  It is of course Copyright Ian Hopping.  The footnote that appears half way through   may turn out to be in an odd place because it is a MS Word document, cut and pasted into the comment box.

Update – Now also PDF

 The Chaos Engine

The Chaos Engine

 Copyright Ian Hopping  

In an infinite universe, anything that is possible, no matter how infinitesimally small must happen sooner or later.(Somewhere, in the gap between time and space, where ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ do not quite join neatly, there is a ‘Click’.) Logic dictates that this is true.(Again – Click! Dice, perhaps, played on a cosmic scale.)And as time is also infinite, somewhere in the infinite past, it has already happened. (And again- Click. Or perhaps bones, falling on the floor of infinity.)


Occasionally, some theoretical physicist will claim the universe is finite. Ask them what’s on the outside then, and they will explain about curved space. This is Ph.D. speak for ‘That’s the bit that worries us too’.

(Yet again there is a Click, like St Peter locking up for the day, and wondering whether he can get away with some creative rounding on his flexi time.)

And the impossible is, by definition, impossible.


Of course, another definition of impossible is that no one has yet worked out the chance of the event happening.

Click, Click…Either that or no one has come across a number big enough to set the chance against.

Click, click, click, click  click  click click click click click click click click click click click click click. 


Bible Noir pt 2 Tuesday, May 1 2007 

UPDATED 10pm BST/9pm GMT 2 May 07 

The opening of Chapter 3, following on from

It’s under the fold


The Gospel According to Joe Sunday, Apr 29 2007 

If you make your way to the rather fine you will find a post called Crosses to Bear. On there is a quick fragment of a ‘Biblical Noir’.  The guys kindly said they enjoyed it, and it was worth trying to extend.  So here is the opening 500 words or so.

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