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Windows 10 is a crock of sh1t PDF Print
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I don't normally get this het up about software and I don't normally say it out loud but it must be said - Windows 10 is a crock of sh 1 t. The poor interface on top of just another NT6 with no real improvements to the core o/s but instead just major changes to the GUI whilst adding a load more inconsistencies/bugs is really not good enough. Win 7 was really the last good o/s that has come out of Microdolts. Windows 10 is really as unstable as good old Windows 98 but not quite as bad as Windows ME. That's not saying much. To summarise I have to reboot daily, basic function are unstable and many of my applications simply do not work. That really sounds like Windows 98 to me.
 
On top of the apps that no longer work, so much in Win10 is tatty and unfinished, it is difficult to theme properly and it keeps generating fundamental errors that make it unusable for enterprise level software. There is this thing called WMI which is the Windows Management Instrumentation layer that is meant to provide system level information in a standard fashion to allow monitoring programs access to core data. This is vital stuff for businesses to test whether their PCs/servers are functioning correctly. In Win10 it either does not work, is corrupted or just stops working for no apparent reason. WMI is one of those fundamental building blocks that HAS to work in order for Win10 to be seen as a decent and grown-up o/s. It worked well enough in XP, Vista, Win 7 and 8 but not in 10. I suspect that the WMI repository was broken during the update from Win 8.1 to Win10 as straight blank installationsof Win10 don't seem to have exhibited this problem. As most casual users are not using WMI they would not be aware of this issue.

Recent updates to Win10 have broken other things like GDI font rendering, breaking any utility that uses pretty GDI fonts - Rocketdock, Objectdock and Winstep Extreme have all been affected, if only temporarily. These and other sorts of errors show that Windows 10 is flaky and should be avoided if at all possible until it is fixed. Rule 1: Don't install a new o/s, what you always need is the stable old o/s - not the new. I wish I'd followed my own advice. So far my experience of using Win10 is like using a new car where 50% of the bolts haven't been properly tightened yet - you don't know what is going to fall off next. Lots of people complaining about it, including me.

NVidia - BSOD


The latest issues I was faced with were the regular crashes with a BSOD with "IRQ IS LESS THAN OR NOT EQUAL..." from the NVidia driver when playing videos and doing other graphical functions involving transparencies/animation simultaneously. Microsoft are pushing graphics driver updates automatically with Win10 which means that you get the latest driver whether or not it is stable for your machine to use it. The last few days the graphics sub-system has been made very unreliable. You may have to download and install an older version of the Nvidia drivers and then do that again in a week or two when Windows overwrites them.

Sound Problems:

Some strange sound issues appear daily when using a browser to watch videos. The sound suddenly cuts out and the volume slider will no longer appear from the systray. Any changes to sound have no effect, the only solution is a soft reboot. Delving into the sound components attempting to make a change, results in the message "the device is currently locked by another application". These sound issues have been here since the beginning of Win10 but now they happen intermittently and frequently. In fact, it just happened as I write this, the words just stopped coming out of a commentator's mouth... nothing but the sound of silence. The volume icon sometimes fails to show itself on the systray. This problem has been happening every two days or so - a reboot ha been required almost daily.

Wireless Problems:

Wireless disconnects are happening far more than I would expect in a operating system that is supposedly in general live use today. The symptoms are that the wireless connection is cut unexpectedly and repeatedly, especially after the system has been restarted from a system sleep/hibernation. From this point clicking on the wireless icon in the systray does not always cause the list of active wireless points to pop up. Shutting down has been the only course of action but after one of these wireless problems a shutdown seems to take an abnormally long period of time. It is as if the connection between the desktop, explorer and the wireless state has its knickers in a twist. A hard reboot has often been required to recover from one of these, sometimes a power off as the desktop is unresponsive. 
 
Desktop Configuration:

The taskbar cannot be resized below a certain point. Windows XP's taskbar is superior in this respect, you can make it shrink to a very small size, Windows 10 has a minimum set size. On top of that Explorer gets in a tizzy sometimes and refuses to auto-hide the task bar due to some unknown explorer systray issue. So, if  you have moved your taskbar to the top of the screen, it can end up sitting on top of the title bar for some of your overlapped windows meaning that you can't minimise or move them about. Annoying. I kill the explorer process when this happens, this used to fix it on Win7 allowing the taskbar to auto-hide again. Killing the explorer process used to be an easy option under XP just open task manager and kill explorer.exe. Doing so on earlier versions of Win10 resulted in the desktop not coming back properly... Doubly-annoying, as a reboot was required. This latter issue seems to have been sorted now.

Task Manager:


The new task manager uses up more resources, uses up too much space and has been optimised for touch devices. The layout and operation is different enough from the old task manager to make it annoying to use. To improve my experience, on every Win10 machine that I operate, I now copy the Win7 task manager to the windows system 32 folder and thankfully I have the old familiar task manager working again in Win10. How to get this working for yourself? Try here: How to get the old task manager working again.

Split Personality:

Win10 has this strange split personality, it has a settings windows when called from the metro menu bar which does some of what I want (but in a manner that makes it difficult for me to find the things I want to manipulate) but what I'd really like is the old control panel which I can get to only with some difficulty (it is however, easily available in its proper location using the classic shell utility). There are also these tablet style 'apps'. The difference between apps and programs? So far it seems to be that apps are things I never, ever use, not once have I found myself wanting them. My Win10 computer seems to run programs such as photoshop, thunderbird, firefox &c. Win10 has a large number of customisations for tablets that are basically unwanted on a Windows desktop. What were MS thinking? This is their flagship product and it is full of unwanted and unused junkware.

-oOo-

Having said all this, I am using Windows 10 daily and despite the regular crashes and hard reboots (one per day is not unusual) for ordinary use it is bearable, but only just. My Win10 desktop is heavily customised to remove most of the new metro tiled interface and also to replace the massive metro menu with the Classic Menu replacement. With the replacement of the Windows 7 task manager, the system becomes somewhat similar to Win7 in operation. The majority of current Windows applications and games work out of the box - so, for most people Windows 10 will be good enough - as long as their hardware/software works. However, some of the advanced functions are still rather buggy and that is where I come to grief. My biggest gripes so far are the interface, the bugs, the crashes and the absence of some DRM support for older applications.

Bear in mind that I use the following apps - firefox, text editors, photoshop, graphical Konfabulator and Xwidgets, thunderbird almost continuously. Occasionally I might play a game or two like World of Tanks. This should not tax a normal system and should not be stretching the capabilities of Windows10. This is NOT real 'power' usage and if Win10 is not stable enough for me in the use o these ordinary apps. then it might not be for you.

When I open my old XP laptop I see what a great o/s it was in comparison, the interface is consistent and designed for a desktop PC, no feely, touchy-crap for tablets, everything works and it is lovely. I am stuck with Win10 on my new lappie and I have persisted with it but I am starting to hate the Win10 specific features.

So with this in mind I can only suggest that you continue to use the last stable o/s from Microsoft, not Vista which screwed up XP, not Windows 8, nor 8.1 both of which broke the Windows desktop interface, not Win10 -  which is just again attempting to fix those Win8 GUI things already broken (whilst introducing a raft of new bugs) - the last stable and usable o/s from Microsoft really was Windows 7.
 
Note: Between them, Win7 and XP still have 60% of the installed user base. Currently, Windows 10 has only 10% of the market.

Personally, I can only pray for ReactOS! An O/S that will run win32 programs and drivers without MS MicroShafting us with an unfinished GUI every year or so.


4pxesy-650.jpg
The above is ReactOS - does that not look like Windows? As soon as ReactOS becomes stable for my suite of apps I will start to switch.

Software that fails under Windows 10 that worked perfectly under previous versions of windows.

Battleground Ardennes (16bit stub)
Rome Total War (DRM)
Mediaeval War (DRM)
Oracle VM Virtualbox (now fixed)
Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds PC game (DRM)
Photoshop CS ver 8.0 - a problem or two causing crashes
 
It seems that I need my XP system to run my favourite games...
Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 February 2016 )
 
Bloodborne PS4 Steampunk Game PDF Print
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Horrific, fantastic, superb architecture, visually amazing, utterly involving, depressing, don't watch this if you are young, easily upset by scenes of horror. Appallingly negative storyline with a visualisation that sucks you in regardless. The man whounderpinned the creation of this game is a genius. Watch at your peril. Children, do NOT watch, do not take part. LEaVe noW.   

Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )
 
WILD The Eve of the War PDF Print
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A combination of very attractive girls, long hair, short costumes, War of the Worlds, Jeff Wayne's music, steampunk and superb performances, what is there not to like? I often post a musical interlude here just for the sake of it and in this case I could not resist.

 
Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )
 
Eye of the Storm by Lovett PDF Print
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The following video has been around for some time but it is rather good so it is worth putting here. Very moody but visually enchanting the imagery works well with the music, in fact the two would be far less without each other. I do hope you find this musically appealing.

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )
 
New widgets for Christmas PDF Print
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Hopefully soon I'll have some new/updated widgets for you. My old Yahoo CPU/GPU Thermometer Widget is being updated..

Some new graphics and new functionality including working graph and new use for the gauges. Updating and improving the Yahoo widget now and then will start to convert it to an Xwidget.



This was the second widget that I created and it was little rushed in parts and as a result I probably didn't think it through enough. It was still a lovely functioning widget though which has sat on my desktop doing its job well. The current version shows up to four sensors and displays a running graph of two of them. When I have the new version rewritten and updated I will have the thing in my head and I'll be confident to translate it to the Xwidget engine.

Whilst I am working on the CPU/GPU Thermometer Widget for Yahoo/Xwidget engines occasionally an idea comes to mind and if it is worth pursuing then a dalliance is allowed. In this frame of mind I have opened an old icon PSD file that I had earlier created and have organised it so that it can be made into a widget. The idea is that each drawer on the filing cabinet can be hovered over or clicked upon and the drawer will open and inform you which folder each drawer refers to. A double click will open the respective folder. Think of it as a replacement for Explorer, a steampunk version of a file explorer.
 
 

The gauge may display CPU as an aside and the bulbs on the top will glow according to the network adapters that are present in the system, glowing in strength according to the signal each adapter receives. Ethernet adapters being permanently connected will glow brightly whilst wireless adapters may glow dimly. That's it, just a germ of an idea at the moment but I have knocked up the initial widget and it sits on my desktop as I write this.

For the Christmas season I have revamped my Christmas Bauble widgets. The first version was a set of 10 individual widgets, each of which showed a different Christmas image. That was it, nothing special.

The next revamped version acts more like an old-style advent calendar. The advent season encompasses the time from the first four Sundays before Christmas up to Christmas Day. Those old-style Advent calendars allow you to open a little door that shows a different Christmas scene every day. My new baubles will allow that too.

christmas_bauble_widgets.jpg

Instead of multiple widgets each showing a different bauble there will be just one widget showing multiple baubles that can still be moved around individually on the desktop. Each bauble has a door that can be opened when clicked upon but only when the appropriate date is reached. Each door has a musical surprise contained within. It is really rather Christmassy and very pleasant to use. Each bauble can be individually resized too.

So what do I have to do to complete it? Add ten existing bauble images, find thirteen more appropriate bauble images, create twenty-three glass doors in open and closed states. Find twenty-five musical elements and convert them for use in the widget. Add the resizing code, test and tidy up. Package and distribute. A fair bit!

Need to do it before 30th November which is the first day of Advent.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 June 2015 )
 
World of Tanks - Is The Matchmaker Rigged? PDF Print
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So to answer that question, World of Tanks - is the matchmaker rigged? Well, I can't actually answer that question as I have no access to Wargaming.net's code that defines what the MatchMaker does and how it does it. There is no published and impartial definition of what the MatchMaker is actually doing. Wargaming has given out ideas and hints as to how it operates (RNG, random) but if you've played the game for several thousand games (and if you are an observant person) it should start to become clear as to how the matchmaker really achieves its aims...

join-the-tank-corps-128.png

I maintain that the Matchmaker is consistent. It consistently controls your win rate by the simple expedient of dropping you into games with more noobs (noob = new player), placing your tank in a non-preferential side of the map or alternatively by placing your tank in a game with more highly skilled opponents. This is all conjecture until you use one or more of the statistical analysis sites that have sprung up with World of Tanks that have access to WoT's historical data. These sites allow you to view graphs based upon various performance metrics and it will soon become apparent that your win rate is controlled.

Who am I to propose this analysis of World of Tanks? I am neither a noob or a unicum (expert player). I have played 17,000 or so battles in exclusively low tier (sub tier 6) light and heavy tanks. Unlike most WoT players I  typically play one type of tank consistently, I don't jump from nation to nation, tank to tank and I do not play the best, most highly successful tanks. My overall win rate is 55.5% and climbing (over time) consistently but slowly. My win rate fluctuates from 65-70% to 45%.  My average WN8 score is 1,300 but for the last 1,000 battles I have had a WN8 of approximately 1,700. That currently puts me into the light blue range, which is actually the top 5% of players. I am not the best player but these stats show I am not at all bad at low tier (sub VII games).

For the purposes of this analyis I played WoT on an 8 year old laptop with a 2.5ghz core2duo cpu and a 256mb Nvida 8400m GPU. It maintains a frame rate of a mere 19-25fps so it should be clear that I have limitations imposed upon me by playing on hardware that is far from being optimised. I am not a dedicated gamer but I enjoy playing WoT.

My analysis must be taken in this context.

-oOo-

Win Rate:

The first time you will start to ask yourself questions as to whether the MM is rigged or not is when you find yourself playing losing battles for extended periods of time - ask yourself these additional questions:

o  Why do you  lose consistently (for tens or hundreds of games) at a rate that is the ALWAYS the inverse of your previous winning rate (eg. 40%  vs 60%)
o  Why does this occur when you reach a win rate of 50%, 55% or some other arbitrary limit?
o  Why does win rate suppression stop suddenly and subsequently improve meteorically at 60% WR for an equal period?
o  Why are so many players experiencing this?
o  Why does this up/down oscillation in win rate occur against a measurable background using other metrics (WN8) that improve gradually over time?
o  Why does Wargaming have a patent that describes exactly these sort of methods for "putting down" players that reach a pre-determined level of win rate?

If these questions seem familiar to your experience of playing the game then this articles serves the purpose of stating for the record what many have experienced.

I'll give you a typical short term example: Playing in the Crusader with four skilled 2,500 game crew, I can play consistently with a WN8 of 2,700 (unicum) and an 80% win rate - this can go on for 60 games for a few days. Then suddenly after a log-out and re-login to WoT the next day, the win rate drops to 38% as my team (and myself) are all killed within 2 and half mins in every game for the next 60-100 games. Logging into another account on another server and my win rate is restored!  

A chart from wotstats that shows win rate being suppressed

Fig1. If your WN8 and kill/death ratio are rising continuously and you see a win ratio like the above then perhaps you are being nerfed !

 

-oOo-

My analysis:

One of the covenantor tanks that I used in the analysis

For my analysis I used the website noobmeter.com to view the data provided by Wargaming.net. I played the British Cruiser MKIII and MkIV tanks consistently for approx 1,000 games at a time (I believe that playing lots of tanks of different types/nationalities as most people do, obscures the cycling effect from showing on a personal win rate graph). I switched between the two tanks almost consistently for 8,000 games. When it seemed that my win rate was being suppressed I then abandoned one tank and switched to another to see if it would occur there too. I did this analysis specifically to see if these cycles of win/loss were consistent and were caused by something within or without of my control. When the downturn occurred I tried beating it with all the tricks at my disposal, using premium rounds and doing all I could to optimise my game play. On occasion I deviated from these two tanks to alleviate the boredom but still the cycling persisted. The tanks I used in their stead were also low tier British Cruisers... Covenantor and Crusader.

Note: this is not a statistical analysis, this is an observational analysis based upon gameplay and experience and observing the statistics as provided by noobmeter, wotstats and wotlabs.

I chose low tier as I should be able to make a much bigger influence on the outcome given that my three skill crews in a couple of brawler tanks should be able to consistently cause more wins. It isn't what I found.

Regardless of any improvement in my own play (or changing between these two tanks)  I found I was bouncing between two win rate thresholds, the upper limit that I battled to break was 55.10%. I would be playing consistently at a current 65% WR for several hundred games and then as soon as the upper threshold was reached the suppression of my win rate would start. The drop in my win rate could not be stopped, better gameplay on my part would simply slow or extend the drop for hundreds of games until the lower threshold was reached. During the period of downturn it seemed as if the majority of the teams I was inserted into were consistently losing teams. On the upward swing the opposite, all winning teams seemed to be on my side providing a consistent WR of 65%.

I could not account for this behaviour in my own mood swings, skill levels &c as my Win8/7 ratings all climbed consistently during the periods of continual loss. It was only the win rate that swung wildly.

Result: My analysis of playing WoT in version 0.8.5 - 0.8.11 seemed to confirm that the MM has an arbitrary win 'limit' set in % that seems to be defined by tier or type of tank.  My win rate turned out to be 55.10%. When I reached that limit all subsequent teams were  losses until a lower threshold was reached. This caused a cycling effect of wins followed by losses. The aim seems to be to keep a player within a narrow win-ratio band.

Now imagine that my chosen tank(s) will  have lost consistently for eight hundred games in a row achieving a win rate of only 45% - As I am only one player in a team of fifteen I assumed that I personally cannot have had that much effect on the overall win rate of my teams, if I had been playing consistently badly I could have contributed to the loss of one or two games perhaps but not consistently for hundreds of games, my ego isn't that big - I am not that important in the scheme of things. To lose so consistently I have to assume it must be an external influence on the teams I have participated in (especially so if all other metrics are improving).

This chart is NOT a fake! created from two noobmeter charts

Fig 2. The graph above showing the cycling effect on win rate (created from two graphs).

See the massive troughs of thousands of games losing/winning, losing at 40% and then winning at 60%. Statistically it does not make sense that I could lose consistently like that as my gameplay and style simply does not change.

Note:- In the graph above (Fig 2.) the peaks and troughs were originally much sharper and more defined. WoT has a habit of modifying the historical data that is provided to 3rd party sites such as Noobmeter.com, in particular removing the peaks and troughs and smoothing out the graphs. If you were to analyse the same data from WoT in noobmeter today (Fig 3.) the peak and trough that occurred at 4,400 games has been completely removed from the data... which makes no sense. It is as if the historical data has been deliberately massaged to remove the absolute peaks. Look at the graphs in the two examples above and below, see the dramatic fall at approximately 4,400 battles, in the later version below, that whole cycle of 500 games has simply been removed. The peak did occur and the only way to know it has occurred is for you (or myself in this case) to retain your own data or the graph image for later analysis. I have maintained my own copies of the graph since I noticed this medium-term smoothing of the data.

Since the final flattening out of the data (from 8,100 games onward) the changes have been:

1. I have focussed on playing tier III/IV mid-tier cruiser tanks.
2. WoT 0.9 series has been released.

In the above graph you will note a change in the periodicity of the cycles at the point at which the 0.9.0 patch was released. The graph peaks have smoothed out considerably but the drop was still inexorably downhill. Either of the above two changes could have had the effect of removing the pronounced 'cycling' previously experienced in 0.8.nn. What seems to be the case is that since 0.9 the upper and lower thresholds seemed closer together higher but just as in 0.8.nn as soon as the upper threshold was reached gameplay became distinctly harder and losing teams were more regularly encountered - same as in the 0.8 series.

(Note for all the forum trolls: These graphs weren't made up, just taken straight from noobmeter as explained. If you want to disbelieve them, that's fine, simply do your own analysis before commenting.)

WIN RATE vs. PERFORMANCE METRICS

The analysis of win rate does not take into account other metrics that also indicate performance independently. WoT has a performance rating that is calculated according to an algorithm owned by Wargaming.net. Two independent metrics are also maintained that supposedly give a more accurate estimate of your performance, they are WN7 and WN8, the latter being the most up to date.  

The core of it all this  :  An obvious supposition is that if my win rate is controlled solely by my ability to play well within the game, then my other performance metrics (average damage, average no. of kills, experience, kill to death ratio &c) should all fluctuate in synchronisation with the cycling win rate especially over thousands of games. However, this does NOT occur, indicating the cycling is clearly artificial.

My performance as measured by all metrics including WIN7/8 are consistently climbing despite all the win rate peaks and troughs. In fact, prior to the nerf starting my win rate consistently rose and rose until it reached 55.1%. At approx 2,000 games then it simply stopped climbing and stayed just below 55.1% WR and then cycling up and down. That isn't statistically possible if the MM is even-handed. It indicates an algorithm coming into play. These sorts of heavy losses can only be achieved by the match maker putting me against tougher opponents or simply put, dropping me into loser teams or manipulating the outcome of the battle in some other way.

I regularly create accounts to prove this and when playing I find that my performance metrics are entirely independent from my win rate. I can play with a win rate of 65% for hundreds of games, then 30-45% for hundreds of games and watch the average damage and kills increase but still experience loss after loss after loss.

 Graph showing other performance metrics and win rate

Fig 3. The other performance metrics showing a steady climb - (graph extracted from noobmeter, no modifications to the data other than adding my text and an average win rate over time)

 next-wr-period.jpg

 Fig 4.Win rate  from 7,000 games showing win rate cycling continuing until 55.6% which seems to be my new cut-off point.

On average the win rate graph does show an average climb (the blue line that I have drawn myself onto the win rate graph). That climb equates well to the other metrics showing that overall my win rate is improving consistently and inline with expectations. The trouble is the massive cycles up and down just should NOT be present unless they are artificially induced by the matchmaker. Remember, some of those troughs are six or seven hundred games long, that is far too long to play consistently losing matches. Conversely, in the upward climbs it seems as if I am playing like a 'god' with a 65-70% win rate for hundreds of matches, both are unbelievable.

This cycling only seems to show its head when you play one or two tanks consistently. If you play many different tanks you may not notice the effect. With all statistical cycles if you have multiple sources it tends to flatten out to a curve when all the cycles are combined - as each occurs at a different frequency. IF you want to replicate this analysis, simply play two tanks of the same type consistently for thousands of games, the cycling effect will then show. On the forums it seems to be known as the saw tooth effect. I like to call it "cycling".

Wargaming's Intellectual Property.

Just as a reminder to all who see this thread, here's Wargaming's patent on the MatchMaker and how it operates, supporting observed behaviour:

matchmaker.png
"According to another aspect, the matchmaking server may store a win/loss percentage for each user (or vehicle) at a given battle level. As the player's win/loss ratio decreases, the player becomes more likely to be placed in battles having battle levels at the lower end of the allowable range, whereas as the player's win/loss ration increases, the player becomes more likely to be placed in battles having battle levels at the upper end of the allowable range. Thus, when a player has been repeatedly put into too many difficult battles, the balancing is done in favor of easier battle sessions, thereby encouraging the player by providing an easier game environment. Similarly, when the player has been repeatedly put into too many easy battles, the balancing is done in favor of harder battle sessions, thereby keeping the player challenged instead of letting the player become bored with easy games."

Link here:
http://www.goog
le.co...ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA

Note: You only patent your most precious intellectual resources. The work to patent something is not inconsiderable. Why does the patent match real-life observation? Well, I would suggest that it's in use - otherwise why bother to patent it? Occam's razor states the solution with the fewest assumptions should be selected, ie - as the patent exists, it is much more likely that it is in place in the game - than it isn't.

Ask yourself this simple question: If Wargaming has a patent for a mechanism they say they don't use, why don't they patent the method they say they actually do use? This is all back-to-front and frankly I don't believe it.

In any case, Wargaming admits that the patent IS actually in place in World of Tanks. In the court case against "Beijing Gamease Age Digital Technology Co., Ltd. (“Gamease”)" for copyright theft against their clone game, Project tank, Wargaming states in a legal statement that the patent is in operation. To quote Wargaming's own petition to the United States District Court Northern District Of Illinois Eastern Division:

44. Wargaming.net also has intellectual property protecting one or more innovative nd novel features that upon information and belief are utilized within at least the most recent version of World of Tanks®. For example, Wargaming.net is the owner of United States Patent No. 8,425,330 (“the ‘330 patent”), issued April 23, 2013, and entitled “Dynamic Battle Session
Matchmaking in a Multiplayer Game,” a copy of which is attached as Exhibit B.
45. The ‘330 patent is directed to methods and systems for matching client devices based on a permissible range of battle levels for each vehicle based on vehicle type and vehicle
tier.

This lets us know that the patent is in operation in WoT and Wargaming is prepared to fight competitors using it. You can't have your cake and eat it.

If you mention any of this on the World of Tank's forums you will receive a lot of counter feedback, some of it rude and some of it very persistent. It seems that there are some that appear on every discussion of the matchmaker putting down any possibility that the matchmaker is 'rigged' in any sort of way. They appear to want to suppress discussion on the matter. These trolls state that the patent is not in operation when Wargaming itself says it is. Other posters on the forum have suggested that they are 'shills ' whose role it is to provide disinformation and to rubbish other's suggestions as to the extent of the rigging of the Matchmaker. I won't comment except to say that it does seem strange that they appear on every such thread where the Matchmaker is mentioned. I do wish they wouldn't as it reduces the effect of their contribution and often turns any discussion to a mud-slinging argument.

The Match Maker conversations on the forum could be generally more appreciative of the other's opposing opinions and less dismissive or insulting. I find the US forum is quite a trollish place and not the most receptive place for discussion. If you do post there do not expect much more than invective and trollish one-liners as a return, especially from those that we all suspect to be known-shills. These shills do exist, three of them inhabit the NA Matchmaker threads and two live on the EU forum. You'll soon see who these people are as they post on EVERY matchmaker thread: Ub.rd... and Fl..bf... are the main disemminators of disinformation on the NA forums with a chap named Ne.to... assisting.

There is a suggestion that these veteran trolls are put in-place to cause arguments and foster insulting behaviour. In this way they can cause the moderators to shut down threads or simply embroil the original posters in invective, essentially smothering any logical argument.

Regardless of their reasons, what I cannot believe is how many are prepared to continually argue the point as to the veracity of people's claims to Matchmaker fixing.  From normal gameplay I witness and experience the peaks and troughs occurring on an almost continuous basis. How some other players do not see it occurring themselves, is beyond me. The cycling is part and parcel of playing WoT on a daily basis. For those few to not see the patterns? Well, that tells me they are seriously blinkered, playing another game with the suppression somehow magically switched off or could it be they are paid by Wargaming.net not to see it at all?

CONFIRMATION:

For these trollish people I have a snippet of information, an email from a Wargaming.net support employee to a WoT player that refers to the patent. In the email the employee admits that the matchmaker's patented function is in operation in the game itself today (the game you are playing right now) and how it places in you in progressively harder matches, where teams of harder opponents simply 'challenge' you to do better (his words). He states that it is perfectly normal for this practice to be in place and that is exactly in line with all the other MMO games out there.

-oOo- 

W*** C*******t 27 September 2013 09:52 (name withheld)

Dear v*********1,
(name withheld)
Thank you for your reply.

I apologize that I did not get to your ticket yesterday.

We do not fully need the old replays as
(name withheld) let me know he went through your chat logs for the past 2 months. As said before however, we are not allowed to disclose what punishments are handed to players.
The only thing we would need replays for is to investigate physics abuse. (like a teammate pushing you into water so you drown etc)

As for the patent regarding the matchmaker, this does state that:
“According to another aspect, the matchmaking server may store a win/loss percentage for each user (or vehicle) at a given battle level. As the player's win/loss ratio decreases, the player becomes more likely to be placed in battles having battle levels at the lower end of the allowable range, whereas as the player's win/loss ration increases, the player becomes more likely to be placed in battles having battle levels at the upper end of the allowable range.”

This does not mean that the matchmaker “Rigs” games, it just means that the better a player is doing, the more of a challenge they are presented with and ultimately the results of a battle still are in control of the players and now well they perform with their team.

We see this in many games, and it is not there to force a player to lose, but simply to provide a challenge. Here are some examples:

-In Mario Kart, when you are in last place you have a high probability to gain a bullet powerup or red shell, however if you are in first place you have a higher probability to get bananas.
-In Tera, when one team captures the flag against another team, the team who had their flag captures is granted a “loser buff” that makes them more powerful for a determined time.
-In Final Fantasy XIV, if your group wipes while attempting to kill an enemy monster, the group is then granted an aura buff to make the next battle a little easier.

I hope this clears up any confusion and rumors being spread about our matchmaking system.

Please let me know how it goes.

Best Regards,
W.... C......

Wargaming America Support Service
To reply, please log in at https://support.worldoftanks.com using your registered account email and password.

-oOo-

I feel that email is quite clear in WGs admission that the Matchmaker is being rigged..

-oOo-

Further confirmation that this cycling is artificially induced and is not attributable to your own state of mind, poor mental health or environmental factors (!) can be found by taking the following actions:

220px-british_army_cyclists_recruiting_poster_wwi.jpg

o Leaving a particular server unplayed for a period of at least two months
o Logging onto an alternative server, EU, SEA &c (a re-roll).

If you leave a game server entirely and stop playing for two/three months (recent news suggests two months is no longer enough), when you return you will find that the MM has forgotten about you, the suppression of your win rate has been curtailed and that your win rate will be back to the levels that is was pre-suppression. This indicates that the MM looks at your win rate values over a period of time to determine whether to suppress you or leave you alone. If your current win rates are low (or you haven't had any for a while) then matchmaking is switched back to normal or 'preferential'. When your win rate rises consistently and surpasses the threshold for a period of time then it switches the suppression back on.

When you log into another server (EU, SEA) you may find that your win rates are similar to what they were prior to the suppression. Give this course of action a go and see if it helps your win rate and report back here please. 

Note: Some recent testing shows that Wargaming appears to suppress win rate not only by account ID but also by IP address to prevent people from doing a re-roll - so I suggest changing your ip address regularly.

The current observation on using a re-roll account on the EU server is that this solution definitely works, at least in the short term. My current Win Rate is 65-70% over the last 200 games and averages 56% over the total 500 games played in each tank used (limited to two). I need to do more analysis on this proposition over a longer period of time (4,000 games or so) to state that this latter course of action definitely works in the long term. 

CONCLUSION WITH REGARD TO CYCLING:

Looking at the extreme cycles that could be found in 0.8.nn. It seems obvious that the MM can only achieve this perceived threshold win rate throttling by placing artificial limitations upon a player. IF you agree that this is being done then you must ask yourself why do they do it? Well, one answer might be that Wargaming.net is a commercial organisation and it can make money by giving you the incentive to play using a premium, paid account or by using enhanced resources bought using real cash (in-game gold). I believe this win rate threshold limit is designed to encourage you to do exactly that.

It has been stated on the forums that this cycling is the result of Wargaming.net averaging out your win rate "in the long run". I am quite prepared to accept that statement yet I am not quite sure what it means. Due the continuous nerfing my win rate has been steadily climbing throughout all the cycling but it has been slow and the result is yet another example of the long and painful grind that is World of Tanks.

The fact that win rates do climb progressively is not actually in dispute, it is the method by which Wargaming achieves moderation of the win rate over time that is.

0.9.n SERIES

There appears to be a difference in the way the cycling operates between the 0.8 series and the later 0.9 series. During the 0.8 series the upper and lower thresholds were farther apart meaning that the wild swings in win rate were highly pronounced, lasting for hundreds if not thousands of games. The controlling mechanism appears to have been changed in 0.9 and is being refined to make the rigging less obvious. The upper threshold seems slightly higher (still arbitrary?) but the lower threshold is much closer to the upper. This means that losing/winning cycles appear much closer together, you may now have losing streaks for a day or only 50-100 games or so. The length of these cycles depends upon how well you play and how long you take to be suppressed down to the lower threshold.

certificate.png

 

The observation of 0.9.n is limited as the number of games/cycles I have experienced in 0.9 is simply far less than in 0.8. The win/loss cycling effect is still present but perhaps slightly less pronounced? I am still performing limited tests on different servers to see how the suppression is being implemented and will update this article as more information is discerned.

Matchmaker changes are never announced to the general public in Wargaming's brief release notes. They are unrelated to any game patches as the changes take place on the Matchmaking server. Changes to the MatchMaker are expected in any one of the near future releases as it has been suggested that even Wargaming.net's devs realise that the MatchMaker is broken in some way (not admitted officially) and it has been mooted that changes are underway. To many, the MatchMaker does seem broken in many respects, uneven teams and broken platoons (failtoons) are oft quoted as being examples of real failure. I doubt that any potential changes will remove the cycling but we can assume that the process will be modified somewhat without informing the community.

What does this mean to you? It means a day's worth of games may be played at a 60% win rate and the very next day? a 40% win rate.  On a day when I play 30 games of WoT using my favoured 2-barrel-stripe tank at 61% and the very next day I play 25 games but lose 70% of them  - I know that my account is being nerfed.

NERF CUT-OFF POINTS/PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT:

Not only are you 'nerfed' according to your win rate but there also exist some arbitrary nerf points at which games will start to get tougher. Serb has already admitted that new players receive preferential treatment for the first 80-100 games. So, we know the first nerf point is approximately 80 games, you can test this by playing the medium MkI on a new account. You should be able obtain a win rate of 67% until the 80 game cut-off point then you'll see the win rate drop.

The second nerf point appears to be 1,000 games. Up to this point it should be possible to attain a 67% win rate on a re-roll account played by a reasonably good player on a few good tanks. From 1,000 games onward things will toughen and the games will harden.This cut-off point may not really exist, it is just the point where after a thousand games a good player may reach a good enough win rate for the MM to start to 'nerf' the account.

It appears that 'types' of tanks are allowed preferential treatment from the start. I have exclusively used 'real' tanks as opposed to SP guns and arty. Playing on an account that was being nerfed (struggling to achieve a 45% win rate over an extended period in my overall 56% tanks) I switched to a tier II arty. Having never played arty before I expected a low-ish win rate. However, my win rate was 65% over 100 games. Admittedly I killed a couple of tanks every now and then but nowhere near enough damage to cause that win rate. Just as before, amazing teams that carried the game, time and time again. I will keep playing this tank to see at what point the nerf point seems to occur.

ACCURACY NERF:

It has been related that the MM 'nerf' also comes hand in hand with an accuracy/penetration/damage 'nerf'. I cannot state that I have encountered this nor have I tested for it in my analysis. Personally, I do not think it is required as the MatchMaker is able to control your win rates more effectively by simply putting you into teams with slightly more low experience players. An accuracy nerf would seem be too obvious and too easy to discern. I am not saying it doesn't happen, for the purposes of this analysis I am simply not taking it into account (if it exists) nor have I been looking for it.

Personally I am not sure that the accuracy nerf exists though it certainly feels that way. It is possibly just frustration on the part of the gamer brought on by the Matchmaker suppression showing how you cannot carry a poor team, highlighting the 25% random nature of the game.

However, it could well be manipulation of the RNG figure (and I agree I do seem to have noticed a negative effect on aim &c) but the MM cycling is enough to frustrate by itself. I'd need more evidence to report an accuracy nerf here.

A WORKAROUND:

I believe it may be possible to defeat the cycling. Switching to your very best tank appears to be a potentially successful tactic but only in the short term. Choosing one of the very best of the OP (over-powered) tanks that suits your own personal style seems to be one tactic. Some of the best Russian tanks (KV1 &c) seem to be good places to retreat to when the 'nerf' starts.

So, not only do you need to beat your enemies but you also need to beat the MatchMaker. Another way of achieving this is simply to  abandon a server for two months or so, it seems to be a good and workable tactic. You simply have to be able to recognise when a nerf has started... that is the sign to stop playing. For example, recently, I played 373 games at an average of 58% win rate running just three lower tier (II-V) British Cruiser tank. After a series of 65%-100% evenings consistently able to carry the game I began to experience a severe downturn, playing 30 games but winning only 10... with one continuous losing streak of 15 games in a row. This was the start of the downturn.

cyclist04.png

You can tell when the MM has decided to put you down in that it selects losing teams for you consistently. You'll find that even at tier 2/3 it will be very hard to win, that your enemies will consist of teams of 'sealclubbers', seasoned players in platoons and groups that will wipe the floor with your team. You will be placed consistently into higher tier games where your newly adopted light tank status emasculates your ability to influence the game. You will find your chosen tank playing in consistently higher tier games where it is simply unable to contribute as effectively. You may do well personally but you still won't be able to win the game. You'll be doing more damage than everyone else but you will still be losing.

You'll be just as stunned by your opponent's steamroller capabilities as you were when your own teams consistently played like 'gods'.

If you continue to play you may find that downturn lasting for tens if not hundreds of games. At this point the only thing to do is to abandon the game and stop playing that particular account for approximately 8 weeks. I suggest that instead you simply open an account on another server, reset your ip address so that Wargaming does not know it is still you, and play there instead. Use a different username and if possible an unrelated email address. It may take some time to train another crew to 100% experience but when you do, sit back and watch your win rate magically restore!

Don't think you can simply open an account on the same server - that does not seem to work. Initially, you may get the positive preferential treatment that the MM gives to new players (50-80 games or so) but as soon as you start to do well (high win rate overall) you may be nerfed once again.

If you do open a re-roll on the same server, it will take about 50 -80 games playing at high average and current win rates before the nerf starts. I have tried this option and it does not seem to be of great benefit unless you change your IP address at the same time. To achieve this simple reboot your router - pull the plug!

AN EXAMPLE OF A RE-ROLL ACCOUNT:

To show you how the re-roll works an example would seem to be best:

I have two accounts that I have available for testing. Account 1 is an old account that has seen some hard wear from one of my older children, 2,200 games @ 51% win rate. This account was one that I deliberately set up to be 'nerfed' so that for the period of this test it is currently under suppression from the MatchMaker. To deliberately achieve this suppression I played 100 low-tier cruiser games at a 65% current win rate until it reached an overall 51% win rate for the account. At that point the Matchmaker noticed the high win rate and the 'nerf' was imposed. For 100 games all subsequent matches for this account hardened and I was unable to achieve a win rate above 38% no matter what I did.

cycle-poster01.png

To prove that my tanking skills were not in question, I had previously opened a second re-roll account (account 2) and obtained the same low level British cruisers to fight and use there. I had trained two crews up to 100% standard with one perk and had left that account 'fallow' for some months so that it was invisible to the Matchmaker. I played this account instead, participating in 85 games. As expected, the games encountered were standard games with normally-skilled opponents, normal gameplay, no ROFLstomps by the enemy, no collapsing paper-bag teams, just normal games. On this account, (miracle of miracles) I was able to restore my win rate and obtain a consistently high 75% win rate throughout - seal-clubbing as expected.

Finally, just to confirm the 'nerf' was still in place on account 1 - I returned to account 1 to play another 50 games and sure enough the suppression continued at the very low 38% win rate. Conclusion: One account was nerfed, the other was not. For me, simple gameplay with results like these are proof enough.

Note there is nothing different between the two accounts, my skills are the same. Average damage, no. of kills, WN8 &c over the period are pretty much all the same on both accounts, the only difference is the win rate. If I had been tired, playing badly or if some other environmental factor had been influencing me then the issue should have affected both accounts. As I was able to play well on one account but not on the other then this implied an obvious manipulation of my win rates by the MatchMaker.

The above example is not made up. I have just completed this mini-analysis and it still stuns me how easy it is is to defeat the Matchmaker simply by opening and playing another account on another server. I wish someone had told me this 10,000 games ago. This I believe, is the reason why Wargaming prohibits users having multiple accounts on the same server. If you do create multiple accounts, whatever you do, don't admit to it.

BOTS ?

What do bots have to do with it? Nothing obviously unless you have a suspicion that WG is using bots to pad the teams. I recently had a game where the whole tier 5 team was slaughtered within three minutes with eleven of the team doing zero damage. They didn't suicide - they just stood there and took it, faced the wrong way, did everything that a bot might do. Just played badly.  The other team actually made an attempt to fight back, regardless of the attempt they were all killed in very short order. Some seriously hard tanks (S35A, O-I, T67, Stug, Hetzer) failed even to make a hit connect, let alone count. I did as much damage as I could but frankly it was hard to keep up as each tank died just at the moment I arrived. It was as if I had a team with super-powers granted by God and an enemy team of people who just returned late from making a cup of tea.

I did some analysis using Wotlabs stats. The whole enemy team were bots. I suggest that WG was testing its AI bot technology in advance of the release of the training room with AI bots. I can't believe that the whole team would be generated by 3rd party bots at this tier level, no gold spammers! They MUST be WG bots.  None of the players had generated ANY recent stats, so as far as the statistics sites go, none of the players have played any games recently. As the screenshot was from Wednesday the 23rd this makes no sense. Simply put, according to the stats none of these players has played any games recently but I can testify that I played a match with a team of them - all the same, all bots.

So, now we now have a new mystery - is this the effective level of WG's training bot AI? - ie. really poor? Does this explain why we have so many blow-out matches (real teams padded with bots)?. Is this the reason we see 25,000 players concurrently (lots of bots instead of real players)? 

It could be just 3rd party bots but why don't their recent stats show after a week has passed? Could it be that WG is suppressing their stats? OK, this is all speculation so just assume that they exist but we don't yet know why.

 

WHY IS ALL THIS IMPORTANT?

It is important because it is a game that is designed to draw players in, it entices you to pay money to perform  better, ie Wargaming.net's profits are tied to your ability/inability to win. The more you lose the more you will want to tip the balance in your favour by paying money for premium shells and accounts in the hope that you may find your win rate improves. That is the idea. It affects you as it extracts real cash from the wallet of many an unsuspecting player in the most devious manner - by statistical manipulation.

What it has told me is that the only way to win at WoT is to follow the grind to the upper tanks. You can't build up your skill level at tiers 1-6 and expect to win more and more as you improve and become more efficient. At some point you may simply stop winning and find yourself on massive artificial losing streaks due to crumbling teams. 

Once you know this is in place, you may be able to relax and enjoy the game, play to have fun - but whatever you do don't follow win ratios unless you want a serious battle with the matchmaker. For me, the realisation of rigging leads to some disenchantment, I know that other seasoned players are also disillusioned and look around hoping to find some reason to continue playing WoT but not finding any.

WHY DID I WRITE THIS ARTICLE?

tenshillings-150.pngWell, I am hoping that it will open your eyes to what seems to be Wargaming's sharp business practices and stop you from wasting your time and your hard-earned cash when you are bashing your head on WoT's losing brick wall. The fact remains that the MM appears to be  fixed, rigged, manipulated, managed, whatever you call it. Wargaming.net appear content to take your money but at the same time possibly fool you into thinking you can play well and still win. In actual fact, in the long run you probably can expect a very slow increase in win rates but do not expect those short-term high percentage winning streaks to be reflected in the longer term. It just won't happen.

It would be preferable if these sharp practices could be curtailed and WoT be transformed into a more open and less manipulative game.

Hopefully, this article will also serve as an outlet for your frustrations, please add your comment below.

CONCLUSION:

Ultimately you must decide whether the MatchMaker is rigged or not. It may well be rigged for you or it may not. It is up to you to determine how the game is treating you personally. I clearly believe it is rigged for the accounts I use and my analysis seems to support that belief. However, rather than believe or disbelieve anything I have written here I suggest you do your own analysis and then make your own determination.

 Now that I have realised the game is rigged I no longer spend any money on it. To quote from the forum: "People pay while under the spell, then stop when they see it's a sham."

Occasionally I still play WoT but as the experience of winning then losing continuously is so down-heartening I now play very seldomly. As soon as the losing streak returns (which it always does) I abandon the game, deinstall entirely and do something more fulfilling. I wish Wargaming understood that the poor and rigged Matchmaker is the main reason why many of stop playing altogether. If the Matchmaker was done away with I would play this game all the time and I'd be willing to invest in it. As it is, there is no point in playing.

ADDENDUM: 

The statistics from a brand new re-roll account show the fixing in action on a new account. This was the RU server, playing low tier tanks solely using such skills I have. See the initial high performance rating even on low tier, zero skilled crews, plummet like a stone. Then raise itself just as unnaturally. After that a steady win rate climb even though damage is dropping? Makes no sense.

With very few games on the account, any manipulation is clear to see. What the matchmaker is trying to do here is unclear but the contrived nature of the result is clear to see.We'll see what occurs after 200 games. I'll post an update later.

noobmeter-550.jpg

 

WHAT AM I DOING NOW INSTEAD?

There are few alternatives, one was War Thunder another was Project Tank. This latter alternative was so similar to WoT that it was quashed by Wargaming.net for being an intellectual copyright theft of World of Tanks. War Thunder shows promise but is not a direct alternative as the mechanics are far more realistic. It also uses more GPU resources and is unplayable on the lower performance laptops that can run WoT.

Project Tank evolved and became Ground War Tanks but there is a good chance that it may be feeling Wargaming's claws next - we shall see. Armored Warfare is coming but supposedly it will solely cater for Modern tanks and I imagine it will be built for the higher spec machine generally used for gaming in the US - Modern tanks are not really my interest but they may interest you.

Games like these are cheaper to play and while WoT has this awful Matchmaker I cannot justify playing as much as I used to. I certainly cannot justify spending any money there. 

  -oOo-

 World of Tanks became too depressing to play when (due to experience) you are made aware of its shortcomings (the Match Maker, tinsy, tiny maps, Russian tech. bias, map removal, failure to deliver key promises on game improvements &c). The experience of the grind in WoT is utterly depressing and each time you start a new tech tree it is back to the worst map of them all - "Mittengard/Crappengard" for hundreds of games. I fail to see how that is an incentive to try a new nationality or tech tree.

World of Tanks does have some good alternatives if the genre tickles your fancy. Most of these are single person PC games, some have multiplayer options. The following videos might whet your appetite for what the competition has to offer!

Video 1: Ground War Tanks - This is the one that Wargaming does not like, online and accessible now.

It used to be called Project Tank and when it first came out it was subject to complete shutdown by WG's corporate lawyers for being such a clone of WoT. Same control, look and feel and same tanks, garages and unobtanium. A rename and the game is back!

Basically, you can leave WoT and play Ground War Tanks and use such skills and familiarity that you have with this new game - It is almost a clone of woT. Think of it as WoT 0.0.1 as it has lower graphics, fewer enemies/allies per team, smaller maps, tech trees for only a limited amount of nations. However, the identical controls, similar interface, ease of play and availabilty to download and play within 3 mins will have you testing it within moments.

Ground War Tanks is a game played within the constraints of facebook and is based upon flash technology. This is good and bad. It means that you don't have to download gigabytes of data but you will need to run the game within a browser and accept the unreliability of flash.

It will never be a real competitor to WoT as is it is just a little bit rubbish. On a low powered machine lagging and late-starts to the game mean that you always seem to be one step behind your enemy. A different spotting mechanism seems to make tanks appear from nowhere, you need a high-ish powered machine otherwise the regular lags and crashes will soon disenchant you. Think of it only as a WoT-Lite for kiddies and you won't be disappointed. It is worth playing for fun occasionally especially when you need your WoT fix but dont have a machine to hand with the full game installed but don't expect your unicum status at WoT to easily transfer...

 

 

Video 2: War Thunder- an amazing online tank game. A realistic competitor to WoT.
War Thunder needs a powerful GPU and quad core machine to run smoothly. Don't expect to do well at War Thunder just because you are a unicum in WoT. Damage is done differently and youcan be one-shotted at any time. A shot that penetrates armour will do serious simulated damage and not just reduce your pool of HP. Expect to be one-shotted regularly. The spotting and camouflage system is completely different. Foliage is extensive and actually blocks your LoS (Line of Sight) to the enemy meaning most tanks are invisitanks here.

I'm still getting to grips with Wah Funder. At first I hated the game as my toaster laptop could only run on minimum graphics, the lag was massive and I could not a grip of the controls (slippy tanks) and the fact that the tanks were so much more reactive to input from the mouse and keyboard. With a newer model lappie, quad core 2.5-3ghz, a NVidia 650GTX and an SSD, combined with a set of much more delicate fingers, War Thunder became playable and fun.

The sensitive controls take some adjustment, the interface is not as mature as WoTs and can be very confusing (some serious work needed here) but playing the tanks is a new and refreshing experience. I'm killing 4-5 per game and enjoying the game at low tier. Researching modules and upgrades seems a lot quicker, the tank driving is a lot less precise than WoT but I have always thought that WoT's tanks are a little too firmly planted in the ground and possibly too easy to drive.

So far I have only played arcade mode but with my new non-toaster laptop it is an enjoyable game.

War Thunder's maps are huge! On the maps I find the big floating A's and B's that hover above the cap points are disconcerting and off-putting, reminders of course that it is just a game with big maps (of course) but that is a reminder that spoils the illusion.

Artillery is done well, anyone can call down an artillery strike if they have researched the appropriate enhancement. The whistle of the artillery and the on-screen warning of an impending artillery barrage give you time to evade and the damage inflicted seems appropriate.

In War Thunder you can always can hop in a plane if you want to just to try it out! This is NOT considered a bonus to some but I understand the context of tanks fighting it out on a battlefield with planes - I suppose they could always add submarines...

In graphics War Thunder compares favourably with World of Tank. The models are as well executed and as realistic as the later high definition models in WoT and without some of the major mistakes (see the British Cruiser MkIV's incorrect backwards wheel arrangement). The HD models are available in-game at much higher quality than WoT as Gaijin's game engine at high resolutions is much more efficient.

In gameplay War Thunder compares well with World of Tanks but War Thunder's UIX is clumsily executed and needs serious improvements. Random popups and counter-inuitive menus simply confuse. WoT's UIX wins hands down and is superior in almost all aspects. Gaijin needs to overhaul the UIX of War Thunder as it is terribly off-putting for the noob. I am no noob and I still find it confusing. I hate it.

In the past the sparse tech trees have been augmented with welcome recent additions (the British have arrived). This has made the game much more attractive.

I find the experience of playing War Thunder is lacking somewhat in the intangible aspects that make a game attractive. When playing WoT I find myself wanting to play again and again, it is simply addictive which shows the mix is right. War Thunder is the opposite, the game is enjoyable but the mix is not quite 'right. After a few successful games find your self replete, you've had enough. I think this is caused by the 'disconnect'', the maps are huge and you can get lost in them, due to the size of the maps there is no feeling of participation within a team as normally you simply aren't aware of where the team is. The minimap is not as helpful and when team members (or enemies) appear at your side it is almost a surprise...

Multiple spawns is a serious problem. You never know when a game is won or not as more enemy tanks may spawn in the game dependant upon the enemy players' capabilities to spawn more tanks. You don't know whether you have won until the bases are captured so it really is just a game of capture the flag. As a result your part in the game seems small and the concept of carrying to win seems far less possible. The multiple spawning element needs to be remove, games would be shorter and the end result more easy to define, more involvement in the outcome might be engendered.

I think the real key as to why War Thunder is less attractive is that you are a mere participant in a much wider action and whether you are skilled or not the game can go either way. The length of the games and the feeling of disconnect from the team make the game much less satisfying to play.

Gaijin needs to address the gameplay aspects of War thunder to make it more appealling. At the moment it is just another competent tank game but it lacks the real attraction of World of Tanks. A real pity.

   

Video 3: Armoured Warfare - A new contender to the genre of tanks vs tank games that has only recently entered an open beta phase. It is another amazing online tank game that you can play for free. It is a realistic competitor to WoT but one that needs a powerful GPU and quad core machine to run smoothly.

The graphics will draw a "WoW!" from you the first time you see them. You'll see rain, mist and other weather effects, light and dark days and deep shadows unlike WoT's eternal daylight. A problem playing World of Tanks is that you get used to the (not great) graphics and you expect everything to look like that. AW's better graphics actually take some getting used to. My own laptop is a quad core 2.5ghz i7 with an Nvidia GTX 650 GPU. It handles Armoured Warfare's graphics competently.  Playing World of Tanks on the best graphics setting has never been an option as it taxes the GPU too much but AW's graphics appear to be higher resolution even at its lower settings.

Armoured Warfare compares well with WoT comes and comes out the winner on graphics and Match Maker. In any comparison between WoT  and Armoured Warfare, AW would win hands down except that the game currently has no WW2 tanks and an unhappy way of allowing you to select which tank to grind. AW forces you to play tanks you potentially have no interest in whatsoever. You have to select tanks from an arms dealer's stocks and he may have one tank you want to play but you will have to grind through a lot of uninteresting tanks to get at it.

WoT's grind may be painful but at least you choose which nation's tanks you get to play. In addition Armoured Warfare's UIX is blocky and confused but the actual in-game interface is directly copied from WoT's and as a result all is well.

The game is now in open beta which means that the game is playable but anyone joining the community must expect changes to the gameplay, game elements and the interface.

 -oOo-

 

Video 4: Steel Armor - Blaze of War - Great game, great music!

You can buy this one on ebay - dirt cheap. Runs on your PC locally. Complex, not an arcade game. A very good looking simulator with high graphics, good sounds and ultra realism. Requires a good quad core machine of 2.6 ghz or more and a decent graphics card. Not a game for a standard core2duo, i3 or i5 laptop. There is NO similarity whatsoever with WoT. The controls and gameplay are alien to any WoT-er, you'd have to spend a lot of time mastering the controls and the result is utterly different to WoT. Change your expectations and you'll have a interesting time but don't pick this game up and expect to be able to play it in an hour. It will take a few hours just to get familar with the controls and the method of operation. It is almost not a game.

 

Video 5: Iron Front Liberation 1944 -

You can obtain this game on steam or ebay. Runs on your PC locally. Multiplayer is available. More complex than WoT, a cross between a simulator and an arcade game. Allows you to access and use any weapon not just tanks. If this appeals to you then you might well have fun.

Video 6: Iron Front Liberation 1944 - Another one showing this fine game.

 

Video 7: Panzer ElitePP2-X

Panzer Elite PP2-X is a reskinning of Panzer Elite SE and it provides gameplay that is not so far from what is offered by WoT. The controls though are keyboard-based and vastly, and I mean vastly different from WoT.  A dyed-in-the-wool WoT-er will have severe control transfer problems. You simply have to forget the arcade style of WoT and start with a completely new game and method of control. The PE maps are huge, the graphics generally inferior but they do the job. Realism is better but it is hard to play. A good diversion though. Any PC will be able to cope with the graphics. Panzer Elite runs on your PC, you'll need to buy a copy on ebay, the game needs the 1.2 patch and then the PP2X mod to be downloaded in order for the game to be playable. End result is quite good though.

Video 8: Panzer Elite Dunes of War

A completely different game to the original Panzer Elite as shown in video 5.  This version is definitely an arcade game with gameplay similar to WoT. It will feel at home to WoT-ers but the aiming is arbitrary and the one-shotting of enemies happens too often. Your tank is pretty much indestructible. too much of an arcade game to keep your interest but a diversion nonetheless. It has a good multiplayer mode. Runs virtually on any half decent PC. Found on ebay aplenty. Requires Windows XP to run well.

 

 

Video 9: T-34 vs Tiger

I've not been able to try T-34 vs. Tiger as it is not readily on sale anywhere except occasionally on fleabay. the company that created it went bust shortly after it was released. Expect to pay full prices for this game. With regard to graphics it looks to be the dog's testicles, and even more attractive. Certainly more of a simulator and I expect it will need a decent PC to get the best from it. Looks easier to play than Steel Armor Blaze of War but possibly the same level of complexity as Panzer Elite SE. Notice the GUI similarities to WoT, the minimap and the rotating tank in the same positions as WoT. Looks as if the layout has fast become the norm.

 

 

Video 10: Steel Beasts Pro

Wargaming has to realise there will always be a tank game out there to compete with it in one way or another. There is a current simulator, Steel Beasts Pro, that has been going for a few years now, that provides an advanced simulation of modern tanks. Used by some military types to evaluate the effectiveness of certain tactics it conveys the idea of real tank to tank warfare. Not an arcade game in any sense, does not compete with WoT in any manner whatsoever. Some Steel Beast players might play WoT as light relief. 

The GUI has no comparison with WoT, the controls are unique and the audience has no commonality. Nothing for Wargaming to worry about there. This simulator is expensive too at over $100 for a single dongle-protected licence. In the past this would be considered very expensive for a game but the way that WoT sucks in players into the whole tanking experience makes $100 quite cheap nowadays. The average premium WoT-er probably spends this much on the game yearly. In this context Steel Beasts Pro is quite a bargain.

I can't imagine this simulator taking any of WoT's cash so there should be little for Wargaming's lawyers to worry about nor much for them to sink their teeth into. Very little commonality other than the tanks themselves and they are too modern for WoT to compare. So what would Wargaming.net's lawyers have to work with? GUI infringements - nope, gameplay, nope as most games use the mouse point and shoot method for control. The tier and purchasing infrastructure - nope as it is part of the GUI and a reflection of reality and history, the game-tiering and matchmaking (possibly due to the patents they have in place with regard to the matchmaker - but which they say they don't actually use), which leaves the in-game 2D and 3D resources such as images, sounds &c. Not much to go the courts with I should imagine.

 -oOo-

Two more games that I will leave you with, Red Orchestra 2: Armored Assault and Heroes & Generals. I have tried neither game so will provode a comment wheneach has been tested.


Video 11: Red Orchestra 2 Armored Assault


Video 12: Heroes and Generals


Video 13: World of Tanks Blitz

World of Tanks comes out the loser despite all its glitz and UIX-competence but only because of WoT's above-listed shortcomings. If WG would put some effort into solving them then WoT would be the hands-down winner.

It is worthwhile noting I paid money, spondoolics, wonga, cash, money, pounds, sterling on both Armoured Warfare and War Thunder to obtain founders packs. I haven't spent any money at WG's offering for at least two years now as I feel that Warganing.net is simply 'shafting' me by not improving key areas of the game whilst repeatedly damaging others.

In comparison to Armoured Warfare and War Thunder, WoT has the advantage in sheer playability which helps noobs and newish players. The experienced players (10,000 and above games) will want to try War Thunder or Armoured Warfare but once gone, they may not come back. Personally, I uninstall WoT regularly and leave the game untouched for three months but in the past I have always come back to WoT for my 'tank fix'. Of course now, I don't need to anymore, I can get my fix from playing War Thunder whilst testing Armoured Warfare. 

  -oOo-

I'm not sure what effect this article will have on you, some will disbelieve it saying I have fabricated parts - I haven't. Some will talk about it for days but there is no need. Rather than go on and on discussing it on Matchmaker threads on the forum, simply do your own analysis.

  -oOo- 

Further independent confirmation of the WoT Matchmaker rigging can be found here on the Greedy Goblin blogspot: 

 

 

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.ca/2012/04/proof-that-world-of-tanks-is-rigged.html

Play on, play up and play the game! (or not as maybe).

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 January 2016 )
 
Under the Iron Sky PDF Print
(4 votes)

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If you are even slightly into the genre known as Steampunk then Iron Sky is definitely a film for you. This video has almost everything you need, steampunk, almost gothic technology, airships in space, Nazis in full uniform being very very nasty, hauntingly beautiful music. What's not to like?

Well, up to two minutes the song from the original Iron Sky film teaser is both haunting and beautiful, hinting at more deep and meaningful music yet to come. However, I was deeply disappointed in the unoriginality of the remaining three and a half minutes, merely a repetition of the main theme and discordant notes to deliberately alienate and disturb the listener. I had hoped for new music, a more lyrical theme with perhaps an occasional repetition of the first two minutes as some sort of chorus. An exploration of the original theme perhaps but what we finally received was a sort of padding-out to fill a five minute track. I really still do like the first two minutes but the rest... not really worth listening to. Disappointing.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )
 
The Thunderchild prior to battle. PDF Print
(6 votes)

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Some more War of the worlds imagery, a render that was not shown here before: The Thunderchild prior to battle. Complete with music. Officionados of Jeff Wayne's War of the worlds music will appreciate this.

I don't think I ever managed to post this version here before, a reinterpretation of HG Wells/Jeff Wayne's thunderchild. Just a render of a scene with some animation tools used to make the scene come to life. No real animation yet of the Tripods nor the ship but some nicely performed music added to give the scene some depth and emotional appeal.

An image will do as a taster:

thunderchild-600.jpg

The video was a germ of an idea, a low res short period-shot movie based on 2D and 3D models. Note the low quality period-film effect is deliberate, there are a few errors, long range smoke visibility and the prow of the steam packet but please ignore these.

 

We were originally thinking about a kickstarter to get it off the ground. A very short film sequence, a couple of minutes long, Pathe-news style, sound effects, moody music, somewhat similar to the more moody bits in this Jeff Wayne reinterpretation. What do you think?

Whether or not it will develop is all down to time (and money) It is quite difficult to make progress on a project unofficially unless it is all done by one man and that simply takes a lot of time. If it was real project with defined goals, cash to spend &c it could be done relatively much quicker.

The idea was that it would start on a sailor's desktop with orders requiring his immediate return to ship for sailing, the scene would then zoom into the photo on the desktop and then it would come alive and open to the scene of the Thunderchild in action against the Martians.



The date was to be 1921-25, the time of the second Martian invasion where they come equipped with the same technology (realising the overwhelming superiority of their machinery) but fitted with bacteriological filters allowing them to survive in Earth's germ-laden atmosphere. This time they come in fewer numbers having almost exhausted their resources in the first invasion and of course, this time the human defences are better-prepared. In this timeline we get to see Thunderchild II in action. Anyhow, that was the vague idea.

We also had an idea of an old stamp album showing this stamp with the following description:

steampunk_martian_stamp_ico.png"This is a stamp created by Eric Gill in 1924 for the British Empire Exhibition with the emergency overprint "under martian rule" for a set of stamps which were produced in that portion of the British Isles still allowed to function - whilst operating under the yoke of the Martian Empire subsequent to the second Martian invasion in 1925.

Not many items survive from this period and this is reflected in the condition of the stamp. The bottom right hand corner is severely burnt as the stamp was recovered from the remains of Plymouth Post Office destroyed during the battle for the Tamar Bridge at Saltash. Approximate value £26 guineas."


Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )
 
Joomla 1.0 should be re-released as Joomla Lite PDF Print
(5 votes)

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I have been watching the progression of Joomla for years now and I am of the firm opinion that there is room for a CMS that Joomla used to be. I mean, of course, Joomla 1.0. A pretty, good-looking, easy to use, straightforward CMS with no frills, none of the later features that grown-up Joomla has today. Most of the core hacks have been discovered and locked-down. There are still a lot of extensions available that need no re-engineering to function.

It could suit the purpose well. It would have no overlap with the core mainstream Joomla, so no disturbance or friction would be caused between the two. JoomlaLite might require minimal development and simply just maintenance. It could become the feeder project to its bigger brother. As people require more functionality then they simply migrate upward.

Mambo and Joomla 1.0 were both good CMS and as simple website-building tools they are still unmatched. I recently visited a few of my old websites (totally secure and hosted under PHP 5.3) and was amazed at the speed and functionality of the things. The back end flies in comparison to the current Joomla offerings, the front end is practically instant, with no cacheing. All the tools work beautifully.

Big grown up Joomla is not a tool I would use now for small sites nor for bigger ecommerce sites. I would use a blogging tool or any smaller lightweight alternative for a simple site. For an ecommerce site the combination of VM and Joomla 3.0 is too risky due to potential unscalability and the slow running of Joomla. My experience of the new Joomla back end has been unsatisfactory (slow and weird-looking). For ecommerce Magento or OScommerce would be my target of choice.

Do you remember those days when you had a fairly simple shopping cart in a fairly simple CMS? It all ran quick and was easy to knock them out? I want something like that.

Resurrect Joomla 1.0, give it to a smaller team with a mandate to maintain, only develop within strict defined boundaries to avoid duplication of effort and competition (tools only) and call it JoomlaLite.

I know that others have tried and failed/succeeded in making a Joomal 1.0 clone (Joostina and Elxis) but that was due to them taking the wrong path (Russian language CMS rather than an International CMS) but the work they did on the improved tools proved that it can be done and their best work is available to port back. They also didn't have the Joomla name, a guarantee to success for a 'lite' version of Joomla.
 
The new Steampunk Orrery MkII PDF Print
(6 votes)

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At last I've managed to get the steampunk orrery into a reasonable shape, good enough to release in any case. The memo taker which worked in the old version does not work in this one, it is still waiting for me to finish re-skinning that part of it. However, the animation and the general 'prettiness' of the thing have been enhanced somewhat to match the functionality that you will see  in this video :

 

This is the orrery plasmoid - The functionality isn't quite the same but it pretty much brings it up to scratch and it is now on par with the plasmoid. I will post a new video soon, same music but showing the enhance functionality in the yahoo/konfabulator version of this widget.

You need to have all three widgets installed:

1. The Steampunk Orrery Widget
2. The Steampunk Moon Phase III Widget
3. The Steampunk Underwidget

If you install all three of these they will work together and will allow you to look at the moon phases in an animated fashion, good grief the thing is actually useful! The Moon widget will automatically position itself on top of the orrery widget when it is called into operation. The Underwidget needs to be layered underneath the Orrery and then the Orrery's glass panel needs to be made translucent using the opacity slider.  You'll then be able to see the underwidget showing through the glass.

Please try them out and test them and if you have any problems do let me know. If you like them all working together do also let me know as this stuff has taken a long while to do. I've taught myself a lot in the process and I do love designing these steampunk thingummybobs.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )
 
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Lightquick have a nice little Yahoo widget for you to download. Click on the image above.

Do you need a stamp with that madam?

     

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