Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Legends of the Secret World

Greetings Traveler,

Much like an NPC that just sits in town, I did not go adventuring into Secret World Legends upon its launch a couple months ago. It's hard to tell for sure, but it seems like the core RPers I follow on Twitter have made the transition. No way to know what they actually think without asking directly, which I am reluctant to do for some unknown reason.

I downloaded the game at home before going on a trip last month. But then, it would not start properly. I had to uninstall and reinstall to get it to work. Of course, I was in a hotel at that point, which meant a very slow reinstall from the internet. Then, trying to start my new character was a little frustrating. (a bit NSFW after the break)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

From the Desk of Rowan Blaze

Greetings, Traveler!

For the past couple weekends, I have been traveling around, myself—usually with Scooter along—gathering materials to craft a proper place for my trusty gaming rig. You may have seen some of these on Instagram or Twitter, but I figured I should share them here.

The frame holding up the desktop is made from 3/4-inch pipe held together with structural fittings (allen-wrench driven screw clamps). I bought all the metal hardware from Lowes. In the picture below, the frame is upside-down and back-to-front, as well as missing two of the flanges I used for feet.
The double braces about a foot from the bottom are probably overkill structurally, but provide a place for a shelf. In the end, I moved the long cross bars further back to provide more foot room. The long lines seem out of square in person, but I checked and rechecked the level. The desktop itself is from Ikea, both light and sturdy.
Below, you see my almost-finished setup. I have swing-arm monitor stands clamped to the back, but I need to get a DVI cable for my slightly obsolete HP monitor (shown on the left). I plan to use it mostly for holding open browsers and other programs while gaming on my newer one. I also dug out (well, Scooter did) a set of self-powered speakers (including a subwoofer, just visible below my keyboard) that have better quality than the on-board output of my monitor. (While I like Viewsonic OK, getting the one with speakers was a complete waste of money.) I also plan to get a cord hammock from Ikea the next time we're down there.
All told, the dimensions are 59" x 29½" x 40" (150cm x 75cm x 102cm). It's high enough for me to stand at the desk if I want to, but I got a bar stool with a tractor saddle for when I want to sit. You may have noticed the bare concrete floor. The house suffered a minor flood in April, and the carpet had to go. The room needs to be repainted before we put down a new floor, when Scooter and I get a chance for another home improvement project. Which (lol) will involve dismantling both my new desk and the repurposed kitchen table I took apart in order to get it into the Game Room in the first place.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Unplugged

Greetings Traveler,

Syp has a post up about the new gear grind of Secret World Legends. It got me thinking. First, I am perceiving less and less reason to make the jump from TSW, which itself lost a bit of luster for me years ago. I loved the classless Ability Wheel, even if enterprising individuals found “perfect” builds and the game itself encouraged other builds through the outfit system. I loved the complex, mature story; though the unrelenting grimdark became tiresome. I've said it before, but it would be nice to have a similar underlying system in a different setting. I guess that is the appeal—such as it is—of game systems like GURPS, where the basic mechanics are the same, but many different settings and scenarios can overlay the dice rolls.

But I never got Panoptic Core in TSW. That is probably the result of my SLC with Scooter, not to mention my innate altoholism. Maybe between the experience points on my three characters, I could have gotten all the abilities on the Wheel. As far as I know, I could always go back and finish if I want to. Funcom hasn't actually shut down the original TSW completely; they've just decided to develop the game in a different direction. What if Blizzard had done that on at least a few servers for each expansion of WoW, enabling players to return to those older versions of the game if they prefer?

On the other hand, it's become a habit for me to lose interest in an MMO before ever really reaching endgame. Despite playing MMOs fairly consistently for over a decade, I think its been at least a couple years since Scooter or I have hit max level and the "end of the story." It's been almost a month since either of us logged into WoW, on characters that are nowhere near max-level. Part of that is Real Life intruding on our game time. Just when all of the kids are out of the house (sort of), it seems that both of us are busier than ever with job duties. And more of our time off is spent completely unplugging than jacking in to whatever our favorite matrix is at the moment.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Finding Our Path

Greetings, Traveler*!

Scooter and I enjoyed a bit of a long weekend, though we didn't really go anywhere far, unless you count the awesome Cyclone Corral BBQ in Burlington, TX, and a journey to IKEA, though that is part of another story.
Kickin' Peach Cobbler!
So, on Saturday, among other errands, Scooter and I decided to stop by a couple local gaming shops to see what they had available. At one, several people were conducting wargames of various types I wouldn't be able to name. They had a small selection of figures, scenery, and rulebooks for a few different tabletop RPGs, strategy games, card games etc. They had gently used copies of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and Bestiary for half the cover price. What they didn't have was any beginner boxes for games we were thinking of taking up.
Saturday's Loot Haul
The second store we visited has been in the same place since before I moved to the area almost two decades ago. This store has more stuff packed into a smaller space, including a wall of comic books in addition to the gaming items available. A card tournament was going on when we arrived; Magic the Gathering, I believe. The books we looked at were all full price, around $50 apiece, but they did have a couple introductory boxes for different games. We picked up the Pathfinder Beginner box, and decided to return to the first store to snatch up the half-price books. (Speaking of which, my daughter informed me that Half Price Books has several locations around Austin, about an hour from our home, that frequently have gaming books and other items we might use.)

I did an unboxing video for the Pathfinder Beginner Box, if any one is interested.
As for the actual gameplay, it went about as well as you might expect with two duffers poring over the rules for a new game. We decided to use two of the premade characters, which became a bit of a challenge in a dungeon designed for a group of four. But at least no one has died yet. In addition to fielding my own character, I took on the role of the Game Master, but avoided reading much about the campaign for fear of spoilers. This was a mistake in retrospect, because I needed to be more familiar with the concepts the introductory session was trying to impart. Even then, the Game Master's Guide and the Hero's Handbook both seemed to be missing the answer to a bit of information that would have been helpful during one of the fights.
The Game is Afoot
The second session went much better. I was more familiar with what was going to happen, and we are both quick learners. Having to think about rules and calculations normally handled behind the scenes by computer games is quite an experience, but we got more opportunity for flexibility and "real" roleplay, which I like. Of course, I enjoy playing alone with Scooter, but I can imagine adding a couple more people would make the game more dynamic.


*Hmm, I like it. I shall now call you "Traveler" rather than "Dear Reader." Unless I forget.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Playing Catch-Up

HELLO! It's funny how being required to write a dull report for work gets my creative writing itch going.
I'm back from the future! Looks a lot like Chicago.
It's been just a bit since we've "talked," Dear Reader, and a lot has been going on in my real life. Unfortunately, not nearly so much in my gaming life. I just returned from a three-week trip to Chicago that included working 10- to 12-hour days and one of the two full weekends I was there. Needless to say, coming back to the hotel after each long day, I was mostly ready to veg out. And the set-up in my room was not exactly conducive to sitting down and playing WoW. I doubt I'll even take my gaming rig on my next trip. I don't know, I'll have to see how I feel about it when I'm closer to the date.

But, as I said, a sort of creative bug has stirred my desire to write. The trouble is, I don't have any solid ideas right now, just a couple of vague notions. I think I need a good fantasy novel to get my imagination really going again. And not some murder/torture-fest like A Song of Ice and Fire or The Sword of Truth.

I'd love to spend some time in the Black.
Along that line, I've also had the urge to do some table-top pen & paper gaming of late. But I'm a bit stymied as to the best way to go about it. I've had some excellent suggestions about online P&P venues, but I feel like, until I am more experienced with P&P in general, doing it online would not be the best way to get involved. Scooter has experience from her youth, as do both my daughters from college groups, interestingly enough. But it's something I never really got into when I was younger.

Yesterday, I was sorely tempted to stop by a games shop or even Barnes & Noble on the way home from work, looking for guides and playbooks. I was also eyeing a Firefly RPG core book a few months ago at the now defunct Hastings in our town. Don't be surprised if I report back about a weekend adventure on Monday.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Secret World Legends First Devstream

I am totally including this as a DAW entry, because I love The Secret World, and Romain "Tilty" Amiel, is one of the few MMO developers I had the pleasure of personally interacting with, thanks to my stint on the Beyond the Veil webcast.

So, back at the end of February, Funcom announced through a quarterly financial report that they intend to relaunch The Secret World with new combat systems, a reworked new player experience, and a free-to-play business model. Concerned voices raised the specter of Sony Online Entertainment's "New Game Engine" for Star Wars Galaxies. Relaunch activities were set to begin in late March. Bloggers at the time assumed this meant an actual relaunch of the game; however, it was apparently only a reference to the start of closed beta on 28 March.
I've adopted a wait-and-see approach to the news. I've been resubscribed as of early February, but have only been able to play a few times in the intervening weeks. So I totally missed last Wednesday's Letter from the Producer. Having a little time today, I logged in to play me some TSW, and discovered the beta had started already. They did a devstream on Twitch that I had just barely missed by a few minutes. Of course, I was able to watch the recording, which featured community manager Andy “Odonoptera” Benditt, newly promoted community team member Nicole "Spynosaur" Vayo, and game director Tilty. The stream was fairly informative and included a bit of character creation and gameplay.
The most striking thing I learned about the new Secret World Legends (SWL) is the forced reticle combat mode, where there is a small target circle in the center of the screen which represents roughly where the player character is aiming. I say roughly, because the actual target box is much bigger than the reticle itself (which many people in the chat felt was too big as it was). If you're not sure what reticle mode is, think of how you might play, say, Call of Duty on a console. Belghast once called it "Action mmo perma-mouselook interface." The Elder Scrolls Online uses reticle mode (or, it did when I tried it a few years ago), as does Neverwinter Nights.
Now, TSW already has a reticle mode option that can be toggled by hitting the "T" on your keyboard (by default). But I generally stick with the regular MMO (read: "WoW") style of moving and controlling my camera and cursor. I haven't really liked reticle mode in the past, so I am skeptical about it being the only mode for movement and combat in SWL. But I signed up for the beta in hopes of checking it out.

But not so hidden in the Producer's letter mentioned above is the following:
"This will not erase your progression in The Secret World though! Secret World Legends will exist on a different server than The Secret World, meaning you will still be able to play your old character on The Secret World server."
In many ways, I still feel woefully uninformed as to the direction Funcom is taking with their IP. It seems that they'll be putting TSW into maintenance mode; that is, all new content will be presented in SWL instead. But they seem to have learned at least one thing from SOE's NGE debacle: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Maybe I'll get LoneStarBelle to Panoptic Core after all.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Developer Appreciation Week 2017 - WildStar Soundtrack

Another Developer Appreciation Week is upon us. I've been so out of things, started a vacation with Scooter on Friday, handed off a torch to Ravanel Griffon and she ran with it.
What is an MMO without its music? SWTOR couldn't be SWTOR without the epic score that pays homage to classic John Williams' Star Wars themes. Is there anything more poignant than the tragic score of WoW's Wrath of the Lich King or Legion?

(Insert a plug here for my friends the Battlebards: Syp, Stef and Syl, who are up to 95 episodes as of this writing, and much more capable of musical analysis than I.)
I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but I love the WildStar soundtrack by composer Jeff Kurtenacker. Few game soundtracks come quite as close to WildStar in evoking the feel of the game world. It helps that I love the mix of electronic and rustic instruments. The music is so cool, I included it in our travel mix playlist, alongside Elvis, Adele, Taylor, ELO, REO Speedwagon. And, of course, Journey.

Hopefully, I'll have time to post at least a couple more times before Ravanel's DAW 2017 Deadline of 10 April. And I encourage you, Dear Reader, to post about your own appreciation for the developers of the games you play. Everyone have a great week!

Hmm, feeling the pull of Nexus' gravity well . . .

ETA: Wildstar is free to play, so go ahead and give it a try if you're so inclined.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What's Rowan Watching?

World of Warcraft took a back seat to nominally more passive video viewing this week. I say "nominally" because the show Scooter and I spent the most time on was actually a pretty engaging mystery.

Where TX 95 hits US 290 from the northBut first: We haven't spent our entire week sitting in front of the boob toob. On Saturday, we got out and went on a little road adventure that involved quite a few country roads and a tour through some model homes we'll never be able to afford, nor that we truly need. (I'd like a bigger place, but it's really only the two of us and the puppernauts. We don't need a house three times the size of our current one at four times the price.) After a very roundabout journey, we ended up at the oldest barbecue joint in Texas. Hands down, Southside Market and BBQ in Elgin has the best smoked brisket and turkey I have had in almost two decades eating Texas barbecue. Normally, I find smoked brisket to be a bit too dry, preferring the cut as the perhaps more familiar slow-cooked corned beef. Smoked turkey breast also tends toward the dry side, but usually has a good flavor.Delicious, though not my pic The folks at Southside have managed to keep their meats moist and tender and flavorful, perfection. I also had the pork, which is very well done, but not a stand-out. And their sausage is delicious; though again, not my favorite thing to eat. The sides are typical BBQ fare, I had potato salad and mac & cheese (with real cheese, not Kraft powder), while Scooter sampled the pinto beans as well as the potato salad. They did have salads available (for an upcharge), but the lack of fresh veggies or fruit has always disappointed me when going to places like this. In any event, I highly recommend that you try this place out if you're driving between Austin and Houston. Or just out for a little weekend adventure in Central Texas.
"No one's neck is incredibly thick as Gaston."
A rare phenomenon, Scooter and I stayed up late Saturday evening to attend a 10 pm showing of Beauty and the Beast. You don't generally come here for movie reviews, Dear Reader (or restaurant reviews either, come to think of it), so suffice it to say we really enjoyed this new live-action version of "a tale as old as time." If you enjoyed the animated classic when you were younger, I think you'll like this version. My only complaint was that Luke Evans, while performing admirably in the role of Gaston, just didn't have the stature/bulk of the animated character. I feel that there are actors in Hollywood that could have pulled it off both the look and the performance.
"Cut a branch and another grows in its place."
Lastly, for the past several evenings, Scooter and I have been watching Frequency on Netflix. The show was running on the CW here in the U.S. this past fall, playing out roughly in real time during the course of the short season. Apparently, it has not done well in the ratings, so they pushed it to Netflix along with another CW program in hopes that it might generate more interest. As far as I can tell from the news, that effort has not been successful. However, I think the show is a worthy successor to the 2000 film of the same name that starred Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. In the show, Peyton List and Riley Smith star as a New York City police detective and her father (also a cop), separated by 20 years and communicating with each other through a quantum entangled (magic) ham radio. If you've seen the movie, the concept is generally the same, though it plays out differently over the course of the 13-episode series. I recommend it be watched on a binge over a few nights as I did. Unfortunately, I fear the premise of the show—with its time jumps and "butterfly effect" timeline—did not play well in weekly installments. Still worth a watch though, which is saying a lot since I hardly watch any television anymore.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

By the Skin of My Teeth

I am absolutely not going to skip another February completely (not my fault if you're not up to read it). Lots of stuff going on this month, though, including a business trip: four weeks of nine- and ten-hour days. I got back into TSW a bit, apparently just in time to witness the impending relaunch of the game, whatever that will mean. I don't think we have enough information at this stage to judge how that will work out, but I am interested to see. Of course, World of Warcraft is my priority, with Scooter and I getting our Dorf Shammy and Gnomelock into the upper sixties and the Blade's Edge Mountains of Outland, with a plan to head into Netherstorm as soon as we are able. I, for one, am eager to return to Azeroth and Northrend to face the Lich King's minions.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ups and Downs

or

A Retrospective of My Seventh Year Blogging

Year Seven was an interesting year on the blog. I didn't defeat any dark wizards, nor do I feel prepared for A-levels. I posted fewer times than any other year—only 50 in total, including yesterday's last-minute postlet. At the same time, around the middle of May, my pageviews shot way up, making previous peaks in my graph look like foothills. After peaking in June with over 50k, my stats haven't dropped below 20k. I can't claim any credit for that, especially given my dreadful posting rate, but it is pretty exciting.

A highlight of the gaming year was our trip to PAX South in late January. Unfortunately, my work schedule intrudes on PAX weekend this year, so we will be unable to attend. As a result of PAX, Scooter and I have discussed doing some tabletop gaming, but it hasn't developed into action yet. As far as computer games go, it was almost exclusively Star Wars: The Old Republic until about June, when Scooter and I, inspired by the Warcraft Movie, re-upped in World of Warcraft a month or so before Legion came out. Strangely enough, even though we kept our SWTOR subscriptions for a couple months after subscribing to WoW again, the game just sort of disappeared from my posts after May.

I got a little more political both on the blog—and a lot more on social media—in 2016. Especially in this election year, so much more seems to be at stake than in years past. I even considered starting a second blog devoted to political stuff, but with the U.S. presidential election going the way it did, the wind has gone out of my sails a bit. I'm not sure I have anything to contribute that isn't already being said by thousands of other people in the United States and around the world in that regard.

The past couple weeks have been pretty big on the handy-man front. Scooter and I built me a new computer, and I replaced the 30-year-old kitchen sink in our house with Scooter assisting at critical points. They both work great. I'm settling into the new rig, but flubbed some of the data transfer because I forgot where things were and then reformatted prematurely. I promised a review of how well it works—which I may still provide; the screenshot above of Stormsage and Soffe is a small sample—but for now, suffice it to say it's quite an improvement over my 6-year-old laptop, which was very nice when it came out.

So once again, we've made it through another year. It's a time to celebrate (with cake?). My love for my bride grows with each passing year. I still love games. I still love blogging, and interacting with those wonderful people I meet online. As may be obvious, I struggle with posting on a regular basis nowadays. But in this new year, I resolve to do better. I can only hope what I write is interesting to you, my Dear Reader.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Seven Magnificent Years of IHTtS

This is going to be perhaps a bit lame, but I wanted to commemorate my blogoversary at least in some small way. I'll have a better retrospective tomorrow, since this weekend so far as been a very busy one. Thank you, Dear Reader, for sticking with me for so long, even when the posting gets a bit thin.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year, New Computer

As I indicated a couple posts ago, my 6-year-old model laptop finally gave up the ghost in early December after a traumatic plane ride to Las Vegas. That's not entirely true. Because of previous experience, I believe it is the trip through the airport luggage system that damages computers, not the flight itself. I did not own this particular ASUS G73 for 6 years, I've actually had a succession of three. The first was stolen in a home robbery forcing me to buy another. The second suffered motherboard issues after a different trip; and this most recent one, a Franken-puter of my old one and another sold to me by a good friend, was getting to be out of spec for modern games and expansions before its failure to boot. According to diagnostics, it's possible it only needed a recovery of Windows, but the DVD drive no longer worked, and I'd been wanting a new computer anyway. I'd started to save up a bit for a new rig already, but unexpected expenses in November threw me off my timeline. My sweet bride offered to use household funds to pay for the new computer, which I would then replenish after the fact.

In talking with a coworker who also travels frequently, I came up with a plan to build my own computer, a portable desktop rather than a laptop. I would be able to plug into hotel TVs using HDMI, and have a powerful computer for less money than a higher end gaming laptop. Plus, I had never built a computer from the ground up before, and I wondered if I was up to the challenge. Many of you fellow techies are probably laughing now, because it turns out not to have been particularly difficult at all, especially with Scooter's help. The part I was most nervous about was screwing up the thermal paste on the CPU cooling unit. However, in some ways, the hardest part was actually getting the necessary drivers to run the network interface card, so I could download the rest of the drivers, many of which updated automatically as soon as I had a connection.

[EDIT: Revised list, not all the components were correct. If anyone is interested, I can add links to Amazon]:

-Gigabyte Motherboard (GA-B150N)
-Intel Core i7 (BX80662I76700K)
-Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB RAM (PC4-21300)
-Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Mini ITX (GV-N1070IXOC-8GD)
-Noctua CPU Cooler (NH-L9I)
-Intel 600p Series m.2 512GB SSD (SSDPEKKW512G7X1)
-HGST Travelstar 7k1000 SATA 1TB HDD (0J22423)
-SilverStone Milo Mini-ITX Computer Case (ML08B-H)
-SilverStone 500W SFX-L Power Supply (SX500-LG)
-ViewSonic 22" Gaming Monitor (VX2252MH)
-Logitech K350 Keyboard (to go with my M570 mouse)
-Windows 10

I'll blurb a bit in a different post on my so-far limited gaming experience with this setup; I was downloading World of Warcraft as I typed the original draft. When all is said and done, the project has cost more than any other computer that I have owned. However, some of this is due to purchasing the new monitor and keyboard, and a really nice graphics card.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

In addition to providing computer construction expertise, Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.