05 August 2006

The Imperial Donut

The Great Emperor had an unholy fascination with the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. I did not understand why but I suspected that it had to do with some form aggressive advertising.

His Majesty bought the Holy Donut and expressed his Royal Delight.

And there he was, sitting regally, contented after consuming the Royal Donut.

Note: A number of the images in the blog were taken by His Majesty and thus are perfection. Posted by Picasa
Aberdeen Steak House

We went to one of those chain steak houses, Aberdeen Steak House at Leicester Square. Well, my advice? Avoid at all costs. Posted by Picasa

Addendum

There is an article in the Guardian that reviewed the chain. It was supposedly going into receivership four years ago. It is owned by an Ali Shah.
The Audience

Here I was, outside the Imperial Palace of the Great Loh. Lohingham Palace. I felt just like K. in Kafka's 'The Castle'. Would I ever attain an audience?

As a lowly supplicant, I applied to the Great Loh for entry but His Holy Majesty was busy in his Holy Harem. I was denied entry.

Finally, His Almighty Holiness, Great Loh the Magnificent decided to grant me an audience and off to Costa Coffee we went.

I guess I should give a word of explanation here since this blog does have readers whom I have not met in real life or are wondering what this is all about. Well, the imperial title bit is basically a running joke between a couple of us and has run on for quite a few years. I was in London not too long ago and Willie took leave from his practice in Liverpool and came to look for me. We visited galleries and museums in London, the tank museum in Bovington and the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Posted by Picasa
The Tank Museum

The Tank Museum is located near the Royal Armoured Corps camp of Bovington. It's about two kilometres from the village of Wool which consists of a small cluster of houses. This village in Dorset is accessible by rail and is about two hours from London.

The entrance. This building also houses a souvenir and models shop. The souvenir shop carrys more books on tanks than any of our bookstores in Singapore. Yes, it will put them all to shame.

The Holy Emperor and His Imperial War Chariot! Tremble mortals! Tremble! Actually, this prototype of a Challenger I adorns the entrance of the museum as a welcoming piece. Posted by Picasa
At the Tank Museum at Bovington

Here was His Holy Majesty, serenely glancing at the World He created.

Here I was, sitting (more like grovelling as I would have to since I am in His Presence) at the grounds of the museum. Behind me, one can see the tank demonstration area.

The Holy Emperor had expressed his displeasure at this display of weakness, that I sleep, by taking a photo of this image. Oh dear! I must atone! Posted by Picasa
Panzer Vor! 3: German Armour at War 1939-45

I picked up this nice collection at the Time Machine at Millennia's Walk last night. AFVs featured in the book includes PzKw I to VI, self-propelled artillery, panzerjager and more. It's obviously not a book for the uninitiated. It's mostly black and white photos with a few colour plates of the camouflage patterns adopted.
The Sherman Firefly


The Sherman Firefly is a British variant of the Sherman mounting the deadly 17-pounder in a modified turret with a overhang to accommodate the size of the weapon. The Firefly variant was the most lethal of Shermans, having the ability to fight German Panthers and Tigers Is.

Note the welded hull and cast turret.

Tank Museum, Bovington: 2006 Posted by Picasa

04 August 2006

Singapore Open Gaming VI

The next Singapore Open Gaming session is here. As usual, Ken is organising this event for everyone. Details are as follows:

Date: 12 August 2006
Time: 1pm - 6pm
Venue: Blk 3, Queen's Rd. #01-139.
Resident's Community Club Hall
Cost: $3
Titan Quest, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Battlefield 2 and what not

Titan Quest is great. I played three hours, managing to bring my character up to level 4. Incredible atmosphere. Splendid graphics. Excellent gameplay. Best of all, the setting, mythological Greece, Egypt and Asia. What more could one ask for?

Well, there is something small that bothers me. Like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Titan Quest is heavily scripted and linear, however, unlike Oblivion which is free-form, Titan Quest is heavily structured in that you have to achieve objective A before you can get to objective B. You can't simply jump from A to C. In other words, one has little freedom in locales, one needs to finish the quest in the village of Helios before one can get to the Spartan war camp. One cannot, say, decide to sail to Egypt.

Meanwhile, I uninstalled Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2: Special Forces, Battlefield 1942, Road to Rome and Secret Weapons of World War II. It is time to move onto other games. I have not been touching these games for months anyway.


I also uninstalled Rising Kingdoms. This is a real time strategy (RTS) which is much akin to Warcraft III and Warlords Battlecry III with current state of the art graphics. It's a charming game but I don't particularly care for it. I think Rising Kingdoms will appeal to Warcraft III fanatics.

On a last note, I have decided not to pick up Auto Assault and Guild Wars: Factions. I have also decided not to make a return to the World of Warcraft when the expansion is released. I think I have grown out of World of Warcraft and the nature of its repetitive gameplay.

03 August 2006

Titan Quest Cheats and Trainers

I am always surprised by the speed at which cheats and trainers are created for games. I have always wondered why people cheat in computer roleplaying games. I thought the thrill of playing roleplaying games is to build up the character? The building and development aspect of a character? I guess not. People have told me that they cheat to save time and to experience the story. I can't understand. Experience the story in a hack and slash roleplaying game with a paper-thin plot? Oh dear.

Anyway, the cheats and trainers for Titan Quest is already available on Gamecopyworld.
Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto

I just placed an order for this book by Niccolo Capponi on Amazon yesterday. I had looked at six different volumes at Waterstones Booksellers in London and Oxford but found that the binding of the books were deficient. I suspect that the whole production run may just be poorly bound. I searched MPH at Raffles City last night but it was to no avail. It would appear that I have little choice.
Titan Quest

I picked up Titan Quest at Tec-Drome just night. I installed it and took a look. Wow. This looks promising. It appears to be a light-hearted affair with a low learning curve, much akin to the origin Diablo.

And the theme! A Greek mythological one with elements of Egyptian and Asian mythology. Woo.

My old video card is able to run this at medium quality. That's great!

Wilson also told me that the total playing time of this one can be short too. The temple of the gods? Intriguing.Those appear to be minotaurs.Fighting at a great wall? The Great Wall?The sands of Egypt! Amidst the fallen columns and obelisks.

Screenshot source: http://www.ign.com
At the Tank Museum at Bovington

The Emperor and the King! All hail! Yes, he is posing in front of a King Tiger.

Great Emperor Willie and the first landship, ahem, tank, Little Willie

Here I am with a King Tiger.

And here we are at the hall housing Cold War era and modern tanks. Posted by Picasa

02 August 2006

Run III

I went for a run after a break of a month. I managed a time of 13:26 for 2.4km. Oh well. I'm slowing down again.
CONGRATULATIONS AK!

AK, congratulations! I saw your name in the papers yesterday! You are named and nominated for one of those advertising awards, Ink or SPH or something. You promised that you will sweep all the awards this year. You promised that last year too! You have bragged to me that you are the IDEAS MAN. I'm cheering for you! Win something dammit!
CONGRATULATIONS GRAND ADMIRAL!

Congratulations Grand Admiral Yeoh, I see that the Great Holy Emperor has decreed that you may now pilot his Imperial Nipponese Barge and other barges of all types!


Woo Hoo! It's about time! You may now pilot your barge to the Ends of the Universe and Time, blowing up Battle Stations at will, smuggle Krytonite and Samsonite crystals and also cruise with BlackRX!

01 August 2006

From an article on Defence Update:

"Following the C-802 missile attack on the Israeli corvette, the Israeli Navy and Air Force attacked and destroyed all coastal radar sites along the Lebanese coastline, to prevent repeated attacks."

Lebanese coastal radars? That is interesting.
A43 Infantry Tank, Black Prince

The fruit of a 17-pounder gun mounted on a Churchill chassis. The Black Prince was not fielded due to the availability of the superior A41 Centurion.

Tank Museum, Bovington: 2006 Posted by Picasa

31 July 2006

The INS Hanit attack

There seems to be quite a bit more. The Styx/Silkworm/C802 class missiles are a 30-year old design and the missile is the size of a small aircraft. It is essentially an aircraft laden with explosives. Here is more information:

Make of what you will. Reliable and accurate information?

From an article from defence update:

"Apparently, two missiles were launched toward the Israel Navy Ship (INS) Hanit (Spear), SAAR V class corvette patrolling the Lebanese coast 16 kilometers from the shore. The attack was a coordinated, simultaneous “high/low” attack - the first “high” missile passed over the Israeli ship. Missing the target, it continued flying, hitting and sinking a civilian Egyptian ship cruising 60 kilometers from the shore. The second missile followed a sea-skimming flight profile hitting the Israeli vessel at the stern, killing four sailors and setting the flight deck on fire and crippling the propulsion systems inside the hull."

and

"The simultaneous attack was probably using two techniques as well, ensuring maximum chances of success. The Israeli Navy believes the missiles used targeing data from Lebanese coastal radars, therefore maintaining low electro-magnetic signature throughout the attack prparation phase."


From an article on Wikipedia:

"Originally the IDF Naval Force claimed the ship had suffered only limited damage at the hands of an explosive laden UAV. After the true extant of the damage was revealed, the IDF claimed the ship had been hit by an Iranian c-802 antiship missile. And that the missile was only able to hit the Hanit because it's sophisticated automatic missile defense system was not deployed. The claims of the c-802 seem questionable for a number of reasons. i) the c-802 is a long range over the horizon antishiping missile that requires a large infrastructure to ensure it's successful launching; this seems to be far beyond the current capababilities of the Hizb-e-allah armed wing. ii) the c-802 is designed to sink a vessel of 10 kilotons, the Hanit is a Saar 5 corvette massing ~1.3 kilotons, it's level of damage is inconsistent with that of the c-802. iii) it seems highly questionable that the Hanit would have turned off her defensive systems in enemy waters, especially considering that another nearby IDF ship had deployed its defense system."

and

"The Iranian version of the c-701 , the Kosar, uses an autonomous millimeter tracker in lieu of the electro-optical tracker of the PRC c-701. The max range of the Kosar anti-patrol boat missile is identical to the distance of the Hanit from the Lebanese shore and the the damage level of the Hanit seems to be more in line with the smaller explosive warhed of the c-701. Furthermore the Kosar is designed to be launched by small groups from the backs of light lorries against targets that are within visual range, this seems to be well within the capability envelope of the armed wing of Hezbollah."

Anyway, there are questions as to the viability of small platforms of 1500 tonnes and under (1200+ for the INS Hanit) of mounting anti-missile and anti-aircraft defences. This may have just shown up these corvettes and fast-attack craft for what they are, paper tigers. On paper, they appear to be formidable and survivable platforms.

In the Gulf War of 1991, the entire Iraqi navy with its Lurssen types and others were essentially destroyed by Sea Skuas fired by Sea Lynxs and iron bombs from F/A-18s. On every occasion, the fast attack crafts and corvettes were unable to defend themselves against the Sea Lynx helicopters (the inability to lock and receive a targeting solution). Now, one can claim that the Iraqi navy or the Iranian one (in the clashes with the US navy in the eighties) were not competent, however, the Israeli navy is probably the best trained one in the Middle East and the INS Hanit the best and latest Israel vessel. I will write a little more on this later.
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Hurrah Hurrah! I finished The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion last night. I didn't read the answers online or have to tweak the statistics to finish this game. Wilson recommended this a few months back and I am glad I took him up on his advice. Thank you Wilson!

The game is deeply satisfying, plotwise and gameplay wise. The amount of time spent is reasonable. And the game is not terribly difficult, being extremely player friendly for people who have to work. One need not be a seventeen year old with no life to complete this. I finished the game at level 21. One can finish it earlier or later. Level 21 is a good level to finish it.

The game allows one to complete little quests as well as do the main quest at one's own pace. Like what Wilson was saying, it can be completed in 20 hours or less if one decides not to do the side quests. One need not have great time-commitments to play this.

Highly recommended.

Lastly, I would like to recommend this game to Dennis, Grey, Desmond, Ben, AK, CK, Wei Yi, Winnie, Willie, Colin and Brian. Don't miss it.

I will be playing Titan Quest next. I will pick this up at Sim Lim Square on Friday night.

Addendum:

For efficient levelling, visit: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Oblivion
Pz Kpfw II

The Germans fielded large numbers of this 20mm armed vehicle in the 1939 campaign in Poland, 1940 campaign in France and 1941 in Russia. With the Pz Kpfw I, III, IV, 35t, 38t, these light vehicles were instrumental in the early victories.

Tank Museum, Bovington: 2006 Posted by Picasa

30 July 2006

Hetzer assault gun


An assault gun with a L48 75mm gun.

The vehicle is based on the chassis of the Pzkw 38t. A deadly defensive vehicle, easily concealed.

Tank Museum, Bovington: 2006 Posted by Picasa