Category Archives: Personal Life

Back from Malta

Hey guys, I just spent a week in Malta with Ronja, my brother, and his girlfriend. It was quite an adventure. This holiday was planned without my input, so it was all surprises for me. All I knew was that Malta was located somewhere around Spain or Italy, and was probably a lot like those places. (and it turns out it was)

We went in winter to save money, and the weather was kind of crazy. When the sun was out it was great, but as soon as it leaves it’s time to add two layers of clothing. Even at it’s worst it was still way warmer than Scotland though, so I can’t complain there. But the bigger issue was that the homes there don’t have central heating and not enough blankets, so we had to struggle a bit with inefficient electric heaters and air conditioners. The places were also very damp, drafty and dusty. We got used to it. It was all Airbnb places we stayed at. Maybe hotels were a bit nicer. Maybe not.

Another issue is that not a lot of tourist stuff was even open! Tons of restaurants and even some tourist attractions didn’t bother opening in Winter. Oh well, at least it wasn’t crowded.

That’s the complaints out of the way. Malta was really pretty! We stayed 4 nights on the main island and 3 nights on the smaller island Gozo, seeing both a lot of the towns and also a lot of the countryside. The architecture was all a bit samey, with everything being made from limestone, but there was still plenty of nicely decorated homes and churches, with all sorts of statues and patterns. The towns were all very cosy with everything squeezed in very close together (I guess you could call them cramped, but I liked it in this case). We visited a small cave under a house. The capital city Valletta had some impressive fortifications and cannon firing ceremonies.

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The seaside cliffs and arches and caves were great. We took a brief ride around them on a tiny boat – it rocked so much it was like a terrifying rollercoaster. Probably the highlight of the trip there. I also loved the mediterranean trees! I took a lot of tree photos to hopefully inspire EBF5 a bit.

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Visited some megalithic temples, which were 5,000 years old. You really have to use your imagination with those. It’s awesome that buildings from so long ago are still around… but they’re really not that impressive if you just look at them – they’re just a pile of rocks. So you gotta learn some of the history to get into it – I’ll have to find some documentaries!
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I need to mention that the traffic was mental. Malta has tons of cars for such a small country, and very tight roads. The drivers seem to be like those in Italy: very aggressive, trying to overtake the instant they need to slow down a tiny bit. The cars had many battle scars. There was also tons of old cars! Not fashionably old ones, just normal old. It reminded me of the 90s in a nostalgic way. Same goes for most of the technology there. They have all of the new stuff, but tons of old stuff is still lingering around too. They’re really taking their time updating things.

Well, I think that’s all of my thoughts out.

2016 in Review

Hey guys, here’s a summary of my year. Most of it was taken up by Epic Battle Fantasy 5 and learning how to live away from my parents. A lot of people felt 2016 was a terrible year news-wise, but nothing in the news really affected me at all. Anyway, here’s a list of important stuff that happened:

• Me and Ronja moved into a flat together! Had to learn how to do house chores and boring stuff.

• Upgraded my battlestation with new monitors, graphics tablet, webcam, and mugs! Should last me many years.

• Played a lot of indie games this year, but I think my favourite by far will have to be Undertale.

• Ronja got Rheumatoid Arthritis and was totally incapacitated for a few weeks. After a few months and hundreds of pills, she’s almost normal again, but still a bit feeble. She’ll be on meds forever and we’ll just have to see how much of her strength she can get back. Lots of visits to the hospital this year!

• Went to the Play expo in Glasgow. First time at major-ish gaming event like this. Tried out a bunch of arcade machines, pinball, and old consoles like the Vectrex.

• My family dog, Maxi, died. Had her for 15 years.

• Found an old sketchbook of mine from when I was 8. It’s full of hundreds of monsters. I scanned it all and stuck it online, and have decided to continue drawing monsters in it.

• Took 3 or 4 days off to play with Lego for my birthday. Managed to build some sets from my childhood, as well as getting a bunch of new ones.

• Ronja’s birthday party was good too. We broke in the flat and brought our friends round. Got more novelty hats for my collection. Later went to the local pub and there was a crime scene outside!

• Me and Ronja went on a quick road trip to Ayr by the coast. Found a cool pub called the Smoking Goat.

• Went on a Road trip with Ronja, my brother, his girlfriend, and a friend from Poland. We aimed for the island of Arran but missed the ferry and went to Bute instead. Hiked a bit, saw some beaches, and there were seals! Seals are really funny.

• There was a big power cut in my area! Never seen a city so dark before. It was spooky.

• I talked to a bunch of developers and got some cameos lined up for EBF5, including Chibi Knight, Sushi Cat, and the guys from Sentry Knight. Matt and Natalie also appeared in the new Sentry Knight game as NPCs.

• Me and Ronja went to Birmingham for the EGX expo. We hung out with the Massive Monster devs who we’ve met before, and also made some new friends. Hype intensified for Yooka Laylee, Snake Pass, and other games. Also saw a bit of Birmingham, including the impressive library and some random film set.

• I think my favourite book this year was So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Very relevant in the age of outrage on the internet, and a fun read.

• Found more of my old sketchbooks, but they were all pretty lame. I had a habit of only filling the first page or two.

• The UK voted to leave the EU and no one expected it. Everyone lost their shit over this and I’m indifferent. A weak £ is even good for me since I get paid in $. Sucks for Europeans living in the UK and sending money back home though!

•  Started playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. It’s a lot of fun but also a huge time investment, so I don’t join in too often. I play as a racist druid named Salazar Ratkin. Ronja’s a bard.

• After a few visits to some dog shelters, my brother and his girlfriend got a dog! It’s a Staffy, so it’s very bulky for its size and tends to bruise people while trying to lick their faces.

• Not long after, my parents got a Labrador! She’s really dumb but also very young so maybe she’ll get smarter. She also wiggles a lot when she sees people.

•  Mostly stopped pirating TV and migrated to Netflix and Amazon instead. Black Mirror, Mr Robot and Stranger Things were some great shows this year.

• I went on a road trip around Scotland with Ronja and some of her friends from Finland. We saw Glen Coe, Skye, Loch Ness and Cairn Gorm. Climbed some hills, saw some waterfalls, got stampeded by sheep, drove over a lot of cattle grids. It was good and I’ll have to do something similar again soon.

•  Got a huge pumpkin for Halloween and ended up making cake, salad and soup out of it. Took way too long.

• Stayed up all night with friends watching the American election results. What a rollercoaster of an election. Better entertainment than any work of fiction.

• Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is almost 3 years old on Steam and thousands of people are still buying it somehow.

• Made about 40% of EBF5 this year. Would have liked that to be closer to 50%, but not bad considering the circumstances.

• Celebrated Christmas with dogs and Lego. Ronja was away in Finland while I stayed with my family. It was nice.

2016

Christmas of Dog

Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas!
I spent 3 days playing with Lego and dogs. I can’t really ask for anything more than that.
My parents and my brother each got a puppy, and they’re all temporarily living together, so it’s crazy over there.

Our landlord gave me and Ronja a big box of snacks and wine, which was unexpected. I guess that’s a good way of getting us to stay around. Only got a Christmas card from one of the neighbours despite giving them out to everyone, so it looks like only our nextdoors are cool people. Everyone else is obviously a scumbag.

The Steam Winter sale has also been treating me well. EBF4 is 3 years old on Steam, and thousands of people are still buying it for some reason. Thanks everyone!

I’m gonna start reading all the comments on the Christmas giveaway, and emailing the winners. It might still take a few days, as there’s a LOT to read there.

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I got all sorts of Lego, from up to 20 years ago! Look at the difference there

Road Trip to Skye and Loch Ness

Hey guys, I just got back from a 4-day road trip around Scotland. Two of Ronja’s friends came over from Finland, and the four of us took off in my heavily-packed car.

We first visited the Isle of Skye where we stayed for two nights in a self-catering cottage in the middle of nowhere. It was a long day of driving to get there, and we spent a lot of it driving through hilly countryside at night, which was scary. My car is not amazing so it struggles a bit on hills when it’s full. And the countryside has all sorts of traps like sheep standing next to the road and cattle grids. So it was an interesting drive.

On the way to Skye we stopped at Luss, Glen Coe (pictured) and Eilean Donan Castle briefly. There was no shortage of cool stops.

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On Skye we hiked up The Storr hill to see the huge spiky rock formations on it (pictured). It’s quite a  steep hike but it’s not too long or challenging. It takes less than two hours to get to the rocks even if you’re not particularly fit for hiking. The weather was mostly good, but while I was at the top it rained heavily for ten minutes and that was me soaked for the day – I forgot to equip my waterproof trousers. Overall though I think this was one of my favourite hiking experiences ever. Very good views for relatively little work. (well except for all the driving to get there)

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We stopped at the town of Portee and at the Sligachan Old Bridge (pictured) a few times, as these were nice places to take driving breaks.

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We stopped briefly for hotdogs at The Quiraing (pictured), which was a nice view point on a high mountain road. We visited the The Fairy Glen, which is a small area of strange looking hills that looks like The Shire from Lord of the Rings, or something similar. The Mealt Falls was another viewing area we stopped at for a good view of the seaside cliffs.

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While driving past the town of Uig, the highlight of the whole trip happened. We stopped the car as a stampede of sheep was herded around us. It was wonderful. (pictured)

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The next day we went on a tour of the Talisker distillery. I was the only one in the group that wasn’t interested in whisky, but I found the machines, giant barrels, and smells in the place interesting. It’s also the first time I’ve heard the word “hopper” used outside of Minecraft! We also visited the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle (pictured), which is a long stream with many varied waterfalls and makes for a great walking area.

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After that it was another long drive until we got to Loch Ness. We stayed in a small rural hotel in Foyers, where we got a good view of the lake. Foyers also has a nice little forest path  (pictured) and an impressive waterfall with a few viewing areas. The change of scenery was nice compared to Skye’s rockiness and lack of trees.

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From here we started driving back home, but on the way we visited Cairn Gorm, which is a popular skiing mountain in the Cairngorms national park. They’ve got a cool railway service that takes you to the top for a nice view. It looked like there was a lot to do in the area, but that’s all we had time for.

Then we went home. The end.

(credit to Ronja for most of these photos)

Update: Oh yeah, I should also mention that now’s a really good time to visit the UK! Brexit has caused our currency to become much weaker, so your holiday will be much cheaper than normal!

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EGX at Birmingham

Hey guys, me and Ronja spent the last 5 days in Birmingham for the EGX expo, which is a huge games marketing event thing. It was our first time in the city, and we really liked it – it feels like a cheaper version of London I guess.

While there we spent a lot of time with Jimp and Jay from Massive Monster/Armor Games. They were showing off their games and made this video which I guess sums up the experience:

Massive Monster are working on The Adventure Pals and Never Give Up, both games that I’m personally interested in playing later on Steam – the earlier Flash versions were already a lot of fun.

Yooka-Laylee was a big thing there, but we didn’t want to wait an hour to play it, so we only watched others. It really does look like a modern Banjo Kazooie, which is all I want from it. <3

Snake Pass was another major indie game, and one that we got a chance to play. It’s a platformer with bizarre snake physics, and looks very similar to Yooka-Laylee visually. Very interested in this one.

Other interesting indie games we saw included BrawlOut, ForgottOn Anne, Dead-Cells, Overcooked, Y2K: A Postmodern RPG, She Remembered Caterpillars, VA-11 HALL-A and Black and White Bushido. All of these will be going on my “play later” list.

We weren’t very interested in the AAA stuff, especially since the queues were huge. There was also a retro-game section, some talks, cosplay shows, merch sales and gaming competitions. Tons of stuff to do, but we spent most of it in the indie games section, chatting to devs as well as looking for obscure games.

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Besides EGX, we also saw a bit of Birmingham: The library is super impressive. We saw a bit of Kaleidoscope Man being filmed (crowds were running while tanks “fired”). We got tasty Indian Burritos from a place called Wrapchic.

And we had an awesome night out with a big group of the indie devs! I felt like a bit of an imposter since I wasn’t showing my games at EGX though, and Ronja’s… not really in the industry at all. Maybe someday.

Seaside Adventures

Had a lazy week last week while waiting on the whole Greenlight thing. Went on two road trips to the seaside.

First one me and Ronja drove to the beach in the seaside towns of Troon and Ayr. I’ve been driving a few years now but haven’t really went far from home yet, so I’m starting to explore more. Most of Scotland’s population is concentrated around Glasgow and Edinburgh and sometimes I forget that there’s a lot more to Scotland than those cities, so there’s a lot for me to see still.

We got to Ayr a bit late and the beaches were crazy crowded, so we retreated to a cool underground pub called the Smoking Goat and had the whole place to ourselves. The basements of old buildings look very dungeon-like. <3

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A few days later we headed out to the the island of Arran with my brother, his girlfriend, and a family friend from Poland. We didn’t plan things too well and the ferry to the island was all booked up for cars. We drove a little bit further and took a ferry to the island of Bute instead. The weather changed a lot through the day, from rainy to super sunny to rainy again. As it does in Scotland.

We stopped at a few beaches for picnics, and hiked along the seaside a bit and saw some cool cliffs. There was this fancy mansion with huge gardens that was a popular tourist destination – but entry was too expensive for the group’s tastes. I kind of want to go back there someday though.

The final and ultimate attraction was the seals! There was a rocky beach where about 12 seals were chilling out. The way seals move is hilarious – they just bounce around. Unfortunately Ronja didn’t get to see them cause she couldn’t make the steep climb down to the beach. ):

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Also last night there was a power cut in our town. Looks like almost the whole town was out for an hour. I’ve never seen such a big power cut before – In my previous home it was usually only one street that got affected by these things. It was really spooky!

Me and Ronja went out onto a bridge over the motorway to see how far the darkness stretched. It was a lot of fun – seeing real darkness is rare in urban life.

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Birthday Celebrations

So about a week ago it was my 26th birthday. I’m not usually a big birthday guy – I’m not excited about getting older, especially now that I’ve crossed the line from growing up, to growing old. Biologically it’s all downhill for me from here. I figured instead of trying to ignore my birthday like I usually do, I’d try to enjoy it. So I bought a pile of Lego and binged on it for 4 days.

I’m quite big on the Lego City stuff right now, so I got a nice little collection of it going. The space shuttle is really cool.

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I also got my big box of childhood Legos out from the attic, and with some help from my family we sorted it all out by color, so that maybe we could actually build something from the mess.

lego boxesI looked up the instructions of some of my favourite sets online, and managed to build these two submarines! 20 years after I first got them, they are whole again! Some of the pieces are a bit damaged, but they still look pretty good. Lego seems to be real close to invincible. I might try and make a few more of these old sets at some point – it was a lot of fun trying to piece together something so ancient.
subsNow with my birthday over I’ll be taking a long break from buying Lego – probably until my next birthday. I don’t want it cluttering my house and getting dusty on my shelves. I am however considering trying out a Lego renting service – that’s a thing that seems to exist, and would suit my need well. I get to build stuff and I don’t have to worry about what I’m gonna do with the stuff afterwards. I’m interested to see how that goes.