3/25/16 – After a long and grueling process of working through a successful attempt and blog AAR for the “A Thin Tan Line” scenario I can say that I am somewhat burnt out on that game for the moment. Today I played Flight Simulator X for the first time in some months, and although I have everything set to realistic the rust didn’t bother me. I was able to fly a successful hop from Jacksonville to Daytona without the use of time compression. I did land a bit left of the centerline but the airframe was still solidly on the tarmac with no danger to the freeloading avatars riding in the back.

3/10/16 – I am back to working on some blog content, specifically the Soviet scenarios in Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm. It looks like there will be a potentially devastating change to Picasa Web Albums that may wreck the content of hundreds of this post on this blog, effective 5/1/16. There is nothing that I can preventively do about that at this time, so I am hoping for the best. It was nice break from blogging where I had some quality gaming time; however I intend to pick back up where I left off at the end of last year. These two month sabbaticals at the beginning of the year are quite enjoyable.

1/23/16 – Happy New Year everyone! I have taken a break from blogging for a short time but I have not stopped gaming. During the holiday season I picked up a number of new games such as Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations and the expansion pack Northern Inferno, plus my friend Javelin gifted me a copy of the early access open world survival game The Long Dark.

Although I have not made a blog post yet for the New Year, I did complete the Silverstone race in F1 2012 and have collected all of the screen shots. I just need to sort through them and write up the after-action report.

I have been logging a lot of laps in DiRT3 and have secured both the Summer and Winter X-Games Championships. I will have to say that game has become something of a diamond in the rough as it is fun to play, challenging, and just plain works. The fact that I received it for free as a reward for using AMD Raptr and collecting gaming credits doesn’t hurt either.

On the XP front I have completed the 2007-2008 NFL season in Madden 2008 and have taken the Pittsburgh Steelers through an undefeated season and a Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers. There are a number of highlight videos I have collected over the past several months of playing the franchise (one key play per game), that I need to cobble together into a video presentation for YouTube.

12/21/15 – Tonight I made a mistake and overwrote my TDU2 game profile, which erased all of my progress under a new profile I had to create. At the end of the day it wasn’t too much of a bad thing for the following reasons: first, my original TDU2 profile (RangerX3X) could not be recovered at the Atari website due to issues with their support system not allowing for a password reset over the internet (as it fails to send the email).

A service ticket logged with Atari in February of this year has yet to be addressed. The second profile I created (XRangerX) was outside of Steam using a disc version of the game, so one day when I decided to purchase it on sale (I do that from time to time), a number of my progress steps that now counted towards Steam Achievements had already been ticked off and did not award the achievement.

Although now I have to go through the whole game again (due to overwriting the profile), at least I am getting those early achievements ticked and the award on Steam. Those profiles are not saved to the Steam cloud but reside in My Documents in the Eden Games folder.

12/17/15 – A couple of days ago I took the plunge and updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer on the taskbar. So far I would have to say the result has been mostly positive, however there are some issues. The most pressing concern is that the computer will freeze when left unattended for some time. This can be when in sleep mode, or simply being away from the keyboard and the system enters a state of inactivity, freezes, and can only be brought back by a hard restart. I never had this issue in Windows 7 in the three years that I ran with that OS, and internet searches reveal that I am not alone with this problem.

Now to the good stuff: I have yet to encounter a game that does not work in Windows 10 (although I have a boatload more to check). Perhaps this can be attributed to the vast majority of my games being on Steam, however it is a nice feeling firing up a ten year old game such as Rainbow Six 3 Raven Shield and having it work flawlessly (and dare I say if not better than on Windows 7).

I have one month to revert back to Windows 7 if I choose to do so, and although the freezing issue is a pain in the ass to deal with, at this point I feel that I am going to continue using this OS up until the 30 day mark to see if there are any additional problems. If not I most likely will stay in the Windows 10 environment for my Gateway machine, and run Windows XP for the older games that don’t respond well to multicore processor hyper threading environments (I am looking at you Madden 08).

12/10/15 – Tonight I won my first game in Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris in the Netherlands scenario. I won one round before the deadline and earned 10 PP with only 2% losses which awarded 40 PP. This was on the easy AI setting which provided among other things clear weather every turn. Before I even give serious consideration to blogging about these scenarios or the campaign I intend to become proficient on normal difficulty at a minimum.

12/1/15 – After much consideration I decided to make a gaming purchase for my b-day present from the Steam Exploration Sale that ended today. I picked up a bundle pack of Decisive Campaigns Warsaw to Paris and Case Blue, as well as four DLC campaigns for Space Hulk. The reason I did not buy the new game Barbarossa is that it is not discounted, not yet on Steam, and based on a recent forum post the developer was making changes to AI behavior based on a save game provided by a single user post release (which to me raises a couple of red flags). From what I have seen of the first game in the series I like what I bought, however I will wait to see what develops with the new game in terms of changes.

11/29/15 – After over three years as inactive I am bringing back the Updates page (previously called Radar) as a rolling update of what I am working on for this blog. Quite a lot has happened with the blog since that last update below, most notably my decision to post approximately once per week on Monday.

As I am writing this I have just completed the final scenario of the game Flashpoint Germany, and I am working on putting together the blog post for it (which based on my current schedule) is slated to be published on 12/14/15.

I have started working on the Warsaw Pact scenarios for the new game Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm battle pack Germany Reforged (as I had completed the original games scenarios playing as NATO). My plan going forward is to complete those scenarios, then perhaps focus on the base game FCRS new Campaign mode as NATO.

When all of that is said and done I plan on moving to a new game, which I have not decided on yet. Another major change with this blog is I am sticking with a single game series until I complete the single player missions. I started this several months ago with Silent Hunter III and then moved on to Flashpoint Germany.

01/06/12 – Having been sick the last few days and unable to sleep worth a damn, I have progressed somewhat haltingly with the following maintenance items: 1) Restoration of posts from the original blog that were FUBAR when I started messing around with Picasa web albums, and a new effort 2) Reformatting the posts to a three image sub set above the page break instead of one large image set to the right margin. I have all of the posts on the main page updated (10), and will work on the remaining 30 posts as time permits. This three image subset will be my method of posting going forward.

01/02/12 – I added some third-party page counters to the various tabs as well as some posts and the main Blogger page as well. So far they seem to be doing a good job of tracking unique page hits, much better than the version offered by Blogger.

If this passes muster, I will roll them out to each individual blog post as well. I have a few going on as tests at the moment, and they seem to be working well. The true test is when I clean out my cache, etc. in some maintenance routines that I run if the cookie is on my side or somehow resolved by the code.

12/26/11 – I made a colossal screw-up with Picasa web albums. Each time I made a post it placed the photo in an automatically generated album, and only created a new album when the previous one would grow too large. This created a situation where managing images became quite cumbersome as they were all lumped together in large buckets.

I decided (with abhorrently little forethought) to create game specific albums, such as Highway to the Reich, Conquest of the Aegean, etc. To make matters worse every time I moved images to their new locations I would receive a popup warning from Picasa that they would no longer appear in my blog, which I gleefully ignored.

Now I have quite a mess on my hands. I don’t want to delete the blog and start over (been there done that), as it changes the date created or something like that. There are multiple posts (mostly the older ones) where the images are all showing the circular black and icon image indicating the file has moved (the triangular black and white icon means the file is gone completely).

The strange thing is I moved everything; however the newer posts are displaying the images as if they know where they were moved to. There are multiple older posts however that do not do this and will need to be fixed over the coming months.

12/18/11 – After suffering a humiliating defeat in the Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams via the dreaded Madden Fix, I have scrapped the entire Jacksonville Jaguars effort and have deleted all posts except for the initial one where the Rams rise to power is well chronicled.

12/11/11 – With the write-up I did for The Sum of All Fears, which was more geared towards a true walkthrough guide (hence the new walkthrough label), I have decided to restart my original Ghost Recon effort. Although I have completed several missions of the Island Thunder campaign, they were based on recruit mode.

Given the hard and Special Forces options selected for SOAF, I feel it would be prudent to do walkthroughs for OGR in the same vein. On that note I will be taking down the Island Thunder posts today and put them back up as I play through each mission on the advanced settings.

On that note, having just started a new Sprint Cup series effort using the Bull Ring Modification, I am also going to be taking down the Project Wildfire Busch Grand National series posts, which that effort was discontinued also (weak AI setting at the outset of 90%).

12/4/11 – Just back from Fort Rucker and not in a gaming mood, I put up some cell phone pictures of the museum my wife and I went to. I also made a wholesale template change to the blog; this one is much cleaner and sleeker looking in my opinion. The NASCAR 2003 series was to have been raced yesterday, but I will probably run that when I get home from work tomorrow.

12/1/11 – I have been running out of free space through Google, so it was a good opportunity to go through the various photo albums and delete some stuff I was not using and a lot of stuff that I was using improperly. There were several images saved as GIF’s which are larger file sizes than the same picture saved as JPEG, so you may find some posts with missing pictures until I have everything tidied up some in the near future.

11/28/11 – I started working on the “A-Bomb Nightclub” mission from SWAT 4. This mission is proving to be the toughest yet from the core game, and is almost as difficult as the “Department of Agriculture” mission from The Stetchkov Syndicate expansion pack described below and in this post.

I also have been playing a lot of the Men of War series I picked up on Steam for a birthday present. The four games are challenging yet very enjoyable, and the Vietnam release looks fantastic. It would be nice to see Matrix and Panther take the Airborne Assault engine and use it for a Vietnam based war-game.

I made the first really significant modification to the website this last week by changing the layout, expanding the width and modifying the main image to accommodate the new size. This has given me the opportunity to add some games I have been playing, remove some I have not and fix the inconsistent drop shadow used on the images.

11/20/11 – Tomorrow I start my first vacation from work in a long time and look forward to doing some gaming during this time off. Having finished up the Norisring Series by winning the championship, I think I am going to turn my Saturday morning racing towards the NASCAR 2003 BGN series I had started and race that weekly to finish it up.

I have a ton of games that I have not completed or even played for that matter. Sitting on my desk right now are Political Machine 2008 (which I blame for destroying a video card), Iron Warriors T-72 Tank Command and IL-2 1946 to name a few. I am also hoping that this Christmas season the hard asses at Matrix Games will lower the price on Command Ops Battles from the Bulge, but time will tell.

10/5/11 – I have finished up the Arnhem Campaign post and made a forum post on the Matrix Games website for my after action report. I finally decided to do the write-ups and post the two Madden games I had played and then put on the back burner.

10/1/11 – I am continuing to work on the Arnhem Campaign post and have it posted through D3 00:00 activities. This morning I started a new Race 07 weekly series, this time using the German track Norisring, and given the disgusting Madden Fix loss against the Panthers, I am thinking about scrapping my Jacksonville Jaguars franchise effort.

9/24/11 - For the last two weeks I have been working on a Highway to the Reich scenario called “Coup de Main Campaign” for the Arnhem map. It has been a major pain in the ass to crack although I had come close twice, with my best scores having been one draw and one minor victory.

Ever since completing the SWAT 4 mission “Department of Agriculture”, I have been working on some stuff here and there, but the operations temp of my blog postings has slowed significantly since running into these two buzz saw missions.

I have tried to stay somewhat on schedule by playing the Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 season in Madden 2008 every Wednesday night for the last three weeks running, and I have wrapped up my custom championship in Race 07, having taken home the Championship Cup in the weekly Monza racing series. All other weekly scheduled endeavors have been knocked off schedule however.

9/10/11 – Well I finally completed the SWAT 4 mission after Lord knows how many attempts. My X-Fire signature at the bottom of the blog page indicates I have played SWAT4 for 19 hours this week. That is pretty pathetic. My next item up on the scheduling cards I have is a Ghost Recon mission, but to be honest I am completely burned out on tactical shooters at the moment.

9/6/11 – I’m still working on the career mission “Department of Agriculture” from the Stetchkov Syndicate expansion pack for SWAT 4. I must have played this mission 30 times now. I can pretty easily make it to the point that all of the bombs are disabled and have 3 or 4 officers still with me.

The problem is the basement situation with the one suspect wearing the gas mask. That suspect is immune to CS pepper-ball from the primary weapon load out as well as CS gas grenades. The only thing that will faze him is a direct shot from a Taser, or having a flash-bang or stinger grenade land near him.

Even when I have been lucky to get close, that suspect will move to one of the hostages in the basement and execute them, causing the mission to be instantly lost. If any lethal weapon is brought along the mission, any suspect that is killed will prevent the mission from being completed in Elite Mode.

The other thing that is really starting to bother me is that the AI will not switch from their primary weapon to their secondary weapon and employ it against a suspect unless they are directly told to. This means that an AI officer will continue to pepper-ball a suspect and not take their Taser and secure them.

The direct result of this issue is that in many room clearing situations, officers are shot and take damage if not completely incapacitated. This is particularly painful in this mission as you need to have all officers up and healthy when you storm the basement, otherwise you are pretty much screwed.

8/30/11 – Working on the career mission “Department of Agriculture” from the Stetchkov Syndicate expansion pack. Having run through the mission five times I keep getting blown up before locating and disabling the last (perhaps more) suitcase bomb.

8/29/11 – I have two preseason games complete for my new Madden 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. I am going a different route this time with the season as I simulated all the way through to the current 2011 (Super Bowl 46) season and will package all four preseason games up in one post before moving on to playing one game per week.

8/28/11 – Upcoming Games: The following list of games is some that I have under consideration to take over once I complete write-ups on the games that I am currently running in the Coverage list:

The Sum of All Fears – Tactical Shooter
DCS: Black Shark – Aircraft Simulation
Race07 Formula 3000 Championship – Vehicle Simulation
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm – Naval (commercial fishing) Simulation
Codename Panzers: Phase One – Real-Time Strategy
Silent Hunter IV – Naval Simulation

Once I run some tests to see how I can collect gaming data (screen shots, videos, after-action statistics, etc.) I will make individual determinations on what I move forward with.

8/28/11 – With the Atlanta Falcons franchise effort successfully concluded with a Super Bowl XLII win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, my focus on Madden will shift to deciding what team to select to mirror the upcoming real-life NFL Season, the 2011 season which culminates with Super Bowl XLVI (46) which will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The problem with Madden 2008 is it is the last PC game put out for the NFL thanks to the stranglehold that EA Sports has on their exclusivity agreement with the NFL (who apparently do not give a damn about PC gamers since we haven’t had an officially licensed product since 2007).

This means that even if I pick a team and accelerate them (AI doing everything) until this current season and then take control, I have no idea how close the schedule the game renders is (and even the correct Super Bowl location for XLVI). This is not to mention that roster changes are at the sole mercy of the game and the new rookies will most likely be fictitious characters.

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