Steampunk Widgets - Elements of the past and the future combining to make something not quite as good as either

Steampunk Desktop Widgets

This site is dedicated to provide interesting downloads, mainly Steampunk widgets for Xwidget, Rainmeter, Yahoo Widgets and KDE Plasma engines as well as wallpapers and icons. Please feel free to download and use any of these on your Windows or Linux system. Simply download the widgets for the widget engine of your choice and have fun. They are all entirely free.
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XWidget conversion to a web widget PDF Print
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A good reason for avoiding using cores & doing it yourself in pure javascript (some may have seen my steampunk media player or the U-boat widget both of which use javascript to rotate the hands and perform other functions) is that the javascript code is often directly translatable into web widgets.

If the Xwidget engine does ever turn into abandonware (like the yahoo widget engine) then you may find yourself in the position of having a lot of widgets but nowhere to run them (all it takes is a little change in a future version of Windows and Xwidgets could simply stop working). To protect yourself from this, if your working functionality is achieved in javascript code rather than using Xwidget cores then you can create/convert to web widgets that work within the context of a browser.

I have a few widgets that are being converted by Harry Whitfield to run as web widgets at this moment. When I feel confident of the task then I may do the same to some other of my widgets. You may eventually start to see them appearing around the web...

This is the U-boat web widget running within a browser. It isn't just stuck on using Photoshop. It really is running in Firefox. It tells the time and switches from one face to another, the hands all turn and the buttons can be pressed. The rest of it remains to be done but it works.

You can see it operating here: g6auc.me.uk/UBOAT/
 
uboat-browser-650.jpg

The point of this post is to demonstrate that a Xwidget can be made to work on other environments but that can only be done without the use of the cores that avoid using javascript to fulfil certain functions. My U-Boat widget is a case in hand, it uses a smooth ticking function that is achieved in javascript which is directly translatable to a web widget.

If one starts at the KJC's/Cannuckens original Xwidget version of the U-boat (very good but all cores and very little javascript) that could only run on Xwidget, then my own U-boat Xwidget used javascript to provide functionality that the core does not (smoother ticks on the second hand &c - KJC adopted it too, resizing &c). Then there is my Yahoo widget version that does everything that the Xwidget version does but purely in code. From this final yahoo version it has been possible to create a web widget.

Comparing one against the other gives a good understanding of the strengths and weakness of the two engines. The yahoo widget is elegant, uses re-usable javascript and can be used to achieve largely anything at the cost of a lot of scripting. The Xwidget engine does the heavy-lifting with a few cores but it does NOT promote use of industry standard javascript to do a lot of the central functionality. This is both good and bad depending upon your standpoint.

The use of desktop widgets is declining and it should be obvious to anyone that a good way to get your widgets out there is to have them running on as many platforms as possible. Web widgets run on all machines via the browser interface so it makes sense to think about targetting that platform.

The U-boat widget above is a good example of that conversion as this particular widget has undergone the conversion from Xwidget to web widget successfully, probably the only Xwidget that has done so (as far as I know). A lot of Xwidgets may have made the progression from the web to desktop but as far as I know none have gone the other way round.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 May 2016 )
 
Steampunk Media Player Yahoo Widget vs Xwidget PDF Print
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There are now two versions of the steampunk media player, one an Xwidget and the other a Konfabulator or Yahoo widget. I created the Xwidget media player version first and chose the Xwidget engine as it would be easier to code and complete. The result was a working widget but it lacked certain key features. It looked good though.
http://i.imgur.com/SnOGDk5.png

Due to the limitations of the Xwidget engine's media player core I decided to create a Yahoo widget using the same design. It is worthwhile noting the differences between the two widgets. The design on the Xwidget was significantly easier to accomplish given the graphical GUI and the use of the media player core. The mediaplayer core in Xwidget does a lot of the heavy lifting for you so you can just set about creating a widget in a short time. I was able to assign functionality to various parts of the widget without much coding at all. The documentation of the mediaplayer and its controls is sketchy to say the least but by divination and looking at other's widgets I was able to see how the media player core operates. It is a working widget but it is awkward for the user to operate as the media player core does not easily allow you to play a file immediately, instead you have to open the actual media player in order to play a playlist. Rather defeats the purpose. Adding a file to the playlist is easily achieved but the widget won't play it straight away.

media-player-help-yahoo-650.png

Coding for the yahoo widget is a lot more tricky as there are nothing similar to Xwidget's 'cores' to interface into the Windows Media player, although there is complete and thorough documentation. You have to interface the widget via a COM object to the windows player OCX. You can then submit player commands to operate the player so you have complete control via code. Unfortunately you need to do everything by hand, things such as play/pause buttons changing and the widget reacting to the track duration all have to be controlled by timers, xml and javascript. The Yahoo widget took twice as long to create as the Xwidget version but saying that, the end result is much better than the Xwidget version as there is more complete functionality. The user can select the track to play, choose a complete folder to play and it will restart using the same default music folder. Some of the complexity is due to the use of the COM integration to the Windows Media player which is not a native player for the Yahoo widget engine. By default the Yahoo widget engine has a complete API for itunes and it would have been much easier to create an itunes-controlling widget. In the end the integration to the Windoows Media a Player was relatively simple enough to do but there was interaction between the various controls that needed to be considered and it required thought and careful programming in javascript.

http://i.imgur.com/BPEKBKD.gif

The end result is a working Konfabulator widget in javascript. It is now available for download, it has been tested and used on my desktop and you can try it now too. I will shortly update the Xwidget version too in order to keep them in synch with regard to fucntionality. The Konfabulator/Yahoo version will stand as a comparison as to how much extra complexity is required without the heavy-lifting being done by one of Tony's Xwidget cores. It will also show how limited Xwidget's mediaplayer core is and how much more functionality is required, as was stated on the Xwidget forums, the mediaplayer core in Xwidget is lacking functionality and some more work here from the Xwidget developer would be desirable...
Download the new player here: Steampunk Media Player Yahoo Konfabulator Widget by yereverluvinuncleber
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 May 2016 )
 
Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug on Atom processors PDF Print
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Some interesting information regarding Intel processors - Intel has just stopped any future development of their mobile processors after spending $10,000 million (10 x US billion) on development, meaning that in the future all those Atom powered little notebooks will have to be powered by conventional power-hungry Intel CPUs or utilise low powered processors from other manufacturers.

This is an essential bit of news for Windows developers as it may be another nail in the coffin for mobile Windows devices as there will be fewer mobile CPUs for it to run on. The Intel Atom was a good chip and it succeeded in powering a range of sub-laptops but it was always a bit of a niche market as Windows on small devices is very hard to use.

Microsoft is pulling out of the mobile device sector having failed so spectacularly with Windows Phone (a very nice phone that nobody wants), Windows Mobile (old, useless and dead) and Windows RT (Windows with all the useful bits removed). The Microsoft hardware offerings were also a failure, Surface and Lumia are noticeable by their absence from most users' hands despite any inherent hardware/software innovations they might have had. Microsoft are stuck with a failing device market that cost them several billion (US) to create but one which they can't now dump as it would be admitting defeat to Apple. That last fact is probably the only thing keeping them there.

Microsoft dumped Intel instead opting for low powered ARM CPUs for their Surface RT range of laptops and the rest of the world has followed their lead, looking elsewhere for mobile CPUs. Intel's efforts in this market have shown spectacularly low levels of sucess versus ever-increasing development costs. In addition the traditional Microsoft/Intel relationship has been abandoned by Microsoft for its ARM powered Surface hardware and that has not helped Intel scale their production of mobile processors in order to reduce costs and make returns on its investment. As a result, Intel has had to abandon an unprofitable market.

The knock-on effect of these failures is that new small-factor windows devices will become more and more hard to find as time goes on. Despite RT,  Windows (95-Win10) really only runs on x86 processors and without compatible low-power CPUs Windows isn't going anywhere else soon. Microsoft is not admitting defeat in the mobile market and will, in the medium term, be retrenching, just like Intel has, until it finds the next mobile avenue to pursue - but at the moment it is unclear which direction Microsoft will go. As a result of the entrenchment expect Windows RT to die, expect Windows Phone to fade away gradually. Continuum is supposed to be the next great step for Windows linking all the desktop and mobile forms of Windows into one over-arching and all-encompassing o/s but at the moment there is a big question as to exactly on which processor types it will run. Windows on x86 already works, so there's no need for Continuum there, if there are no other mobile CPU devices running Windows then there is little point in having Continuum in the first place, so Continuum looks to be dead before it even got started. Windows needs low power CPUs for mobile devices and soon there won't be any that work. Could the future be Windows on ARM (RT) after all? It may have to be, in the absence of other compatible CPUs, but I really do hope not, I don't want to have to run crippled software on a slow mobile device... it has to be x86.

The impact on Windows developers of Intel pulling out of the mobile market is that the future for Windows looks increasingly bleak. We may be hearing the very first notes of Windows death-knell, (well perhaps that it is a bit too bleak an assessment) it certainly is the first toll of the death knell for Windows on mobile devices - we can hear it being tolled now. The only way I can see this sorting itself out is for Microsoft to finance the development of the Intel Atom processor, Microsoft took a dip into hardware development with the Surface now it may have to take a dip into chip manufacture with the Intel Atom. The more obvious alternative is a compatibility layer for Continuum allowing it to run on different processors. Either way it is a big problem for Microsoft and it may not be resolvable and the end result acceptable to consumers. Do you want slow but compatible Windows or fast Android/Chrome/IOS?

Personally, I'm annoyed - We have had to suffer the indignities of having a mobile o/s interface foisted upon the traditional desktop, the result a schizophrenic dual-desktop mess. All this, for the sake of mobile devices that might never actually be...
Last Updated ( Monday, 23 May 2016 )
 
What is the future for o/s graphic design? PDF Print
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With Microsoft realising that the ONLY differentiator between one Windows o/s and another being the user interface (see Metro/Modern design) it means that any  customisation of the o/s is slowly being removed from newer versions of Windows. Venerable XP had some customisation features built-in from the very start through the use of themes, these were a part of the intrinsic design allowing you to customise the colours, backgrounds and font sizes. This feature was disabled before XP was released meaning that only Microsoft supplied themes would operate - only Microsoft would be allowed to theme XP. Users quickly worked around this imposed limitation so this feature could be re-enabled by some patching of the o/s files, meaning that third-party themes could be applied. Although this caught on within the relatively small customisation community it did not catch on with most home or business XP users, most were content with the bland corporate XP-look applied out of the box. That's the 'normal' world I suppose. The important thing here though, is that Microsoft originally planned to allow customisation to Windows look and feel but soon realised that with a stable o/s (that seldom ever changes) the main differentiator is a going to be the "look and feel" and this was going to be Microsoft's main selling point for new operating systems. A Microsoft executive probably made the decision to remove theme-ing and customisation from XP when this realisation dawned...

When Vista came out it revamped the GUI and added in some fundamental security improvements adding or changing a lot of newly created 'extras' but apart from the security changes the core o/s functions (handling of virtual memory and processes) are essentially exactly the same as XP with some tweaks to address locations. Microsoft revamped a lot of the o/s candy and the user interface so from the user point of view, it looked like a new o/s. Despite the GUI changes all the tools still did exactly what they should (as they also did in XP) and as a result the departure from XP was nowhere near as large as Microsoft would have liked you to have believed. From Microsoft's point of view the changes really were huge as Redmond had to incorporate enormous changes in project and coding methodologies to ensure security and quality of code were paramount in code delivery as well as in design.

An automotive analogy: Microsoft were building the same old car design with new bolt-on body panels, metallic colours and an updated interior but underneath the bonnet it was all the same old car. However, instead of building everything as they had done previously by hand, they had now introduced machines and robots to do the work to far better levels of accuracy and reliability. The trouble is, the end-user doesn't appreciate all of this, he only sees the nice paint job on the new car.

For Microsoft though this was a mindset change and it shows why they wanted us all to move from XP to Vista even though XP worked just as well as it always did.

Despite all the hype, Vista turned out to be a failure as the GUI was universally hated (except for a very few diehards), "Windows for tele-tubbies" was a becoming an increasingly accurate description as newer versions of Windows came out. The security additions interrupted everyday usage due to what was simply a poor implementation of security for the end user. Despite the real improvements it also introduced DRM, licensing rules, driver and software incompatibility, greater hardware requirements &c and the result is, that as we all know, there are hardly any Vista systems out there anymore, while XP somehow still persists...even now it has 10% of market share and that's not bad for a 15 year old o/s. It should be noted that Windows XP outperforms Vista in several key productivity areas and is secure if operated correctly .

Vista had an advantage over later o/s in that although it revamped the GUI, it did not structurally change the method it operated, the desktop, start menu, taskbar and icon concepts carried forward from XP and other similar operating systems, still remained operable in the same manner. Themeing and customisation however were not improved or made more flexible, in fact some components were made slightly more difficult to theme, fonts, desktop icons &c with Microsoft realising that end-users saw the GUI changes as the real difference between XP and Vista.

In both XP and Vista third party tools such as WindowBlinds, Rainmeter, objectdock, rocketdock's task bars, desktop launchers, widget engines &c allowed a massive amount of themeing to be achieved by other means, often replacing Windows core functionality with improved alternatives. This is one of the strengths of the Windows o/s as perceived by customisers but Microsoft doesn't see it this way, as customising the o/s means Windows losing its essential corporate identity and the single main differentiator between one version of Windows and another. 

Windows 7 can be largely ignored in the scheme of things even though it is probably the best traditional Windows o/s to come out of Redmond. Although being called Windows 7, it was really only ever Windows 6.1, in that it only fixed Vista's issues, mainly performance and UAC pop-up issues. The only real change other than tweaks, being an improved taskbar, this change showing Microsoft appreciation that Windows 7 needed a changed GUI element for end-users to consider it as a completely new operating system, when in fact it was no such thing. Other than this there were no major changes to themeing at all. Windows 7 is really Vista Plus and despite the changes XP still outperforms Windows 7 in some respects (I'm harping on this to underline the point that for the high end-user, a lot has changed under the bonnet but the end result is more or less the same for the end user).

With Windows 8 and 10 the desktop was transformed. Icons are no longer so important, though they are still there. There are two desktops, one with big buttons and live tiles, big buttons for clumsy fingers on a high resolution and precise desktop controlled by a mouse? They don't seem to combine well. Microsoft, having no tablet o/s and scared about designing one from scratch only to end up with two distinct desktop/tablet systems (like Apple who are rapidly dumping desktop OS/X in favour of IOS), were left with shoe-horning Windows 7 onto tablet devices. They worked hard on this and the result worked but only partially. Windows 8 was a chunky, tile GUI with 'apps' but retaining the whole of Windows Vista/7, un-revamped behind it. On tablets the old desktop was still there but too small to view or use. The o/s interface had a split personality that would force a tile interface onto desktop users whilst forcing significant desktop remnants onto tablet users. For a while Windows 8 was fun to use on tablets simply because you had the whole Windows desktop in your hand. The trouble is that long term users did not find themselves wanting to use it. As an example my Windows tablet despite being very cheap and a technical marvel, remains unused, uncharged and I suppose unwanted. My laptop persists as my main device as it is useful... and I have to admit those ipads are great for casual usage. The fact is Windows 8 did not work for the majority of Windows users that remain om the desktop. I managed to customise Win8 and migrated a couple of working and pretty tablet applications from the desktop but interacting with them still required mouse-style precision that my chunky fingers just couldn't provide.

 b2qzg29.jpg


So, that leaves us with Windows 10, an o/s that has changed the desktop user interface again without us really wanting it. Why the changes? Microsoft just needs just one o/s that will adapt dynamically from the desktop to the phone, tablet or any other device and it doesn't have that o/s yet. Windows currently has Windows RT for ARM based tablets (dead in the water), Windows Phone (dead in the water but really rather good as a phone) and Windows 10 for desktops. How standard Windows 10 operates on Intel Atom based tablets is unknown to me as my Windows 8 tablets don't have enough space to upgrade... however, I suspect that the tablet experience will be better than the desktop one. Personally, I hate the split personality of Windows 10 desktop knowing that in order to focus on multiple environments Microsoft will have to pay less attention to each and so it means to fail a little more on each type. Apple got the IOS interface just right for tablets as they have only the one o/s to worry about (OS/X is as good as dead) but when it comes to turning IOS into a desktop OS, Apple will have a similar set of problems .

Where does this leave the customisers? - out in the cold I am afraid. Microsoft does not want us to modify their o/s and in fact their tablet methodologies go quite well with bland chunky buttons leaving Microsoft and Apple's offerings looking very much the same. Customisation is not on the end-users lips at the moment and their focus is on tablet devices and ease-of-use rather than desktops and flexibility. Some clever chaps are trying to bring customisation to Android through desktop and widget engine development but the result and success of all this will be debatable. For IOS the environment is closed and customisation of the default "look and feel" is frankly discouraged by Apple and in fact largely prevented by the shape and form of the device. Customisation of the desktop graphical interface is no longer the focus of the majority of users which leaves a lot of us wondering what to do next with such graphical skills we have. Rainmeter, objectdock, rocketdock, windowblinds, winstep xtreme and widget engines all offer a level of customisation that is still applicable on the current Windows desktop but I can see focus shifting away from these useful tools as both the end user and the developer's focus shifts elsewhere. As new versions of Windows arrive some of these tools may no longer function (I have already seen this happening on OS/X) or the GUI changes will combine so that these tools are incompatible with Windows new methodologies (no desktop at all?). The environment is also dynamic as no-one knows which new consumer devices will appear. The future for Windows customisation and individual graphic design is bleak I fear and once again all your oses will sport the bland corporate interfaces that each big corporation foists upon you...

PS. I'll add some graphics to this long rambling rant when I get time.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 April 2016 )
 
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


steampunk-bsod-299.jpg

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. These initial graphics problems have started to subside since Nvidia and Microsoft have got to grips with how to create and distribute drivers for Win10, however this problem still persists for some that are using older hardware with Microsoft pushing driver updates that are innappropriate for their hardware (eg. AMD systems).

Sound Problems:

itunes-70.pngSome 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. These initial sound problems have started to subside since Microsoft has worked on sorting its sound control in Win10.

Wireless Problems:

wireless-70.pngWireless 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:

desktop-70.pngThe 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 though the inability to reduce the taskbar height by dragging it edge is a facility that is still missing.

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 just 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:

glass-clipboard-70.pngWin10 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 - see OneDrive*...

OneDrive:

dropbox-70.pngOnedrive was foisted upon us as Microsoft's answer to your cloud storage requirements. It comes installed on Windows 10 by default and as a result it aimed to displace dropbox as everyone's favoured cloud storage/file transfer option. It could have worked too, being as Microsoft's space allocation was generous at 15gb with an extra 15gb for the use of the camera roll function...however, Microsoft have just pulled the plug on that 15gb, reducing it to 5gb, meaning that a service that was previously useful for storing a 'normal' amount of data for a standard user, is now quite useless as 5gb is just not enough. Microsoft responded to complaints by allowing users that complained the ability to retain those original amounts. However, MS  did not publicise this fact widely and so, for those that never complained and did not receive the message until it was too late, all their accounts will be reduced to 5gb. Despite the unexpected downgrade users that want to transfer their storage to other providers (Dropbox, Google Drive) will still find that annoying OneDrive icon on Explorer as Microsoft do not provide an uninstall option for OneDrive. To get rid of OneDrive you need to remove the oneDrive folder in your user folders, run a couple of commands to remove OneDrive altogether, then a couple of registry commands to remove that annoying OneDrive icon...

Can't say I'm impressed with OneDrive. It was useful but now it is not. Instead I  recommend Dropbox or Google Drive that comes with a lot of space by default.

Privacy and spying:

Windows 10 out of the box sends a lot of information back to Microsoft by default. If you don't want this (you should never actually want this to happen) then you need to disable it with a tool such as https://www.oo-software.com/de/shutup10

Just install it and disable as much as you can, use the recommended settings and you should be OK. Microsoft - what is this rubbish that you are doing?

-oOo-

Conclusion:

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, initially it was bearable, but only just. Since then, a myriad number of bugfixes have been applied and the system today is much more stable. 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 or XP 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 is up to date and 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 an old game or two or a current one 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 of these ordinary applications 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 usage, no feely, touchy-crap for tablets, everything works, it is easily cutomisable and it is lovely to use. However, 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 at the moment 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 changes and bugs) - yes, the last stable and usable o/s from Microsoft really was Windows 7.

Note: Between them, at the time of writing, Win7 and XP still have 60% of the installed user base whilst 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.


REACTOS
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 does not work on a 64bit o/s)
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 still need my XP system to run my favourite games...
Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 April 2016 )
 
Bloodborne PS4 Steampunk Game PDF Print
(2 votes)

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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
(5 votes)

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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
(10 votes)

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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 tier 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. As far as statistics goes, I let these sites provide the data, I merely retained all the graphs from that period so I have a graphical record of the swings, up and down.

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 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 as a screenshot 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 is 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 began 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 - the blue line)

 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 as the work to patent something is not inconsiderable. The work to protect a patent is also considerable and costly. 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 - the patent exists so 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 claim they don't actually use, why don't they patent the method they claim they actually do use? This is all back-to-front and frankly I don't believe  a word of 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 at least live on the EU forum (Jubsta). You'll soon see who these people are as they post on EVERY matchmaker thread: Unter, pukle and Flort are the names of some of the main disseminators of disinformation on the NA forums with a chap named Narto assisting - you know who I mean... :)

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. In fact, their persistent trolling on the forum lead me to create this article. I realised that by gathering all my forum posts into one location, this would result in a readable article. In this simple manner I could win the argument and also reach an audience of over 40,000 - a lot more effectively. Thanks chaps for focussing my mind!

Regardless of their reasons, what I cannot believe is how these few are prepared to continually argue the point as to the veracity of other's claims to Matchmaker fixing. Due to their persistence in the face of reality you should make it a rule never to engage with them.

From normal gameplay I witness and experience the peaks and troughs occurring almost continuously. How some other players do not see it occurring themselves, is frankly 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 either 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? What do you think?

CONFIRMATION:

For those trolls in the forum I have a snippet of information, an email or two from Wargaming.net support employees to WoT players that refer to the patent. In the email the employees admit that the matchmaker's patented function is in operation in the game itself today (the game you are playing right now) and they explain how it places in you in progressively harder matches, where teams of harder opponents simply 'challenge' you to do better (their words). They state 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- 

Wayne Cartwright 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,
Wayne Cartwright

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


-oOo-

In another email, from the EU support team this time, the process by which the Matchmaker selects teams being based on the player's performance over the last half hour is discussed.

Tonkaboy 24 December 2013 14:25
Please explain in depth

• Vehicles are selected according to the battle statistics within the last half hour.


Miguel Adaephon Del... 26 December 2013 08:31

Hello Tonkaboy

 
Thank you for coming back to us with this question.

The point you are referring to is simply applied because whereas the overall statistics can be misleading as everyone can have a good or bad day, so we use the player's statistics in the last 30 mins to get an idea of how they are playing at this particular moment.

We therefore use this information to try and make the teams more balanced, but unfortunately not all players have been playing in the last half an hour, so this may not be the best way of measuring and therefore is not given the most importance, but just taken into account with the rest of the pieces of information.

I hope this explains the sentence appropriately and wish you the best of luck on the battlefield.

Kind regards,

Miguel Adaephon Delat
EU Customer Service Team

The original email text is here on the bbs network.

-oOo-

I feel that in these emails from WG support it is quite clear in these admissions that the Matchmaker is being manipulated or rigged.

 

Further confirmation that this cycling is artificially induced and is not attributable to your own state of mind, poor mental health or other 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 code and not the client. Changes to the MatchMaker are expected in 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 seriously broken in many other 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 (approx.) 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 really '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 intended to keep playing this bit of arty to see at what point the nerf point would occur but I find arty to be very boring.

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 sometimes 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 a lot more evidence to report an accuracy nerf here.

A WORKAROUND:

I believe it may be possible to defeat the cycling but possibly only in the sort term. 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 tanks. 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 simply 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 enemy 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 enemy team actually made some vague attempt to fight back, turrets turned, guns fired but 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 enemy 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 rather  late from making a cup of tea, "Oh dear I've died..."


I did some analysis using Wotlabs stats. The whole enemy team but three were bots. I suggest that WG was testing its AI bot technology in advance of the release of the training room with AI bot players. I can't really believe that the whole team would be generated by 3rd party bots at this tier level, there were no gold spammers! My feeling is that they MUST be WG bots to pad out or influence the team. None of the bot players had generated ANY recent stats so they weren't bots created for stat padding or selling accounts... As far as the statistics sites go, using the data supplied by WG, none of the players had played any games recently but I can testify that I played a match against 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 or two has passed? Why would WG suppress their stats? OK, this is all speculation so I will just assume that some bots exist but that 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 tier and OP 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. 

In addition, I realised that this article is a much more efficient way to promote my analysis. For a moment, think about those poor forum trolls that spend so much time responding to each and every forum matchmakng thread. How much time they are wasting. I wrote this article as I only have to do it once and it will reach a far larger audience than any post on the forum.

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 playing 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 rigging 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.

Wargaming.net appear content to take your money but at the same time try to 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 your win rates but do not expect those short-term high percentage winning streaks to be reflected in the longer term. You aren't a unicum - It just won't happen.

My hope? For me it would be preferable if these sharp practices could be curtailed and WoT be transformed into a more open and less manipulative game.

WHAT AM I DOING NOW INSTEAD?

Not playing WoT.

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 - if you don't understand what this means - let me explain...If you have thousands of games under your belt any manipulation of win rates is obscured by the data averaging out over time and so you won't see any short term manipulation of any data, no peaks and troughs in the graphs as they are smoothed out. If you only have a couple of hundred games then the graph will show the peaks and troughs much more clearly.

What the matchmaker is trying to do here is manipulate the outcome of games by giving much harder opponents when it detects a high win rate - the contrived nature of the result is clear to see. The perfect slopes show the result of the manipulation.

noobmeter-550.jpg

Subsequent to the 200 games shown above I suddenly experienced a slackening of the MM and experienced a run of wins for 50 games at a win rate of 72% with one straight run of 17 wins in a row, a magical performance and win rate with a Unicum WN8 of 1,900 followed by, yes you've guessed it, a 35% win rate for the next 40 games and WN8 of 450... all teams dead within two minutes. It seems that the Matchmaker on the Russian server is even more aggressive that than that on the NA server.

 

 

  -oOo-

 

 

 

If World of Tanks becomes 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), if the experience of the grind in WoT is too 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, then World of Tanks does have some good alternatives if the tank 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-

Personally, I have to say that my feelings about the game are mixed, I have never ever played any other game so much. It is my favourite game. However, in general I also really dislike the game because it wastes so much of my time. I find it hard to believe that Wargaming would want to alienate its core adherents so much that they simply want to stop playing - but unfortunately that is what they have done.

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

  -oOo- 

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

 

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 ( Thursday, 05 May 2016 )
 
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Steampunk Moon Phase Widget 0.9

Downloads: 1621
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(6)

Download the Widget Vault - A Steampunk Widget Appstore here

Widget Vault - A Steampunk Widget Appstore

Downloads: 1240
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(3)

Download the Steampunk Rotating Earth Widget here

Steampunk Rotating Earth Widget 1.0

Downloads: 2171
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(61)

Download the Steampunk Volume XWidget here

Steampunk Volume XWidget 1.0.2

Downloads: 1310
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(0)

Download the Steampunk Orrery Plasmoid Widget for Linux Ku... here

Steampunk Orrery Plasmoid Widget for Linux Ku...

Downloads: 865
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(5)

Download the Weird Steampunk Clock Yahoo Widget here

Weird Steampunk Clock Yahoo Widget 1.2

Downloads: 1814
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(3)

Download the Steampunk Orrery XWidget here

Steampunk Orrery XWidget 0.1

Downloads: 1228
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(2)

Download the Steampunk Orrery Rainmeter Skin here

Steampunk Orrery Rainmeter Skin 0.1

Downloads: 1409
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(6)

Download the Steampunk Resource Monitor Widget here

Steampunk Resource Monitor Widget ver 1.0.2

Downloads: 5003
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(45)

Download the Jupiter Planetary Desktop Widget here

Jupiter Planetary Desktop Widget 1.0.1

Downloads: 1286
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(5)

Download the Steampunk Clock Widget here

Steampunk Clock Widget ver 1.2

Downloads: 2351
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StarStarStarStarStar(16)

Download the Joomla Multi-Site Status Steampunk Yahoo Widg... here

Joomla Multi-Site Status Steampunk Yahoo Widg...

Downloads: 438
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StarStarStarStarStar(5)

Download the Yahoo Widget SDK and Runtime Engine for Windo... here

Yahoo Widget SDK and Runtime Engine for Windo...

Downloads: 3504
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StarStarStarStarStar(9)

Download the Steampunk Orrery Calendar Clock Yahoo Widget here

Steampunk Orrery Calendar Clock Yahoo Widget

Downloads: 7501
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StarStarStarStarStar(2)

Download the Steampunk Weather Widget here

Steampunk Weather Widget 1.0.8

Downloads: 52892
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(38)

Download the Cyberpunk Yahoo thermionic nixie tube valve w... here

Cyberpunk Yahoo thermionic nixie tube valve w...

Downloads: 5968
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StarStarStarStarStar(15)

Download the British Penny Red Stamp Widget here

British Penny Red Stamp Widget 1.0.1

Downloads: 660
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(0)

Download the Steampunk CPU / GPU temperature monitor Yahoo... here

Steampunk CPU / GPU temperature monitor Yahoo...

Downloads: 12930
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(26)

Download the Steampunk Clock Calendar Yahoo Widget here

Steampunk Clock Calendar Yahoo Widget 2.8

Downloads: 18300
Avg. Rating:
StarStarStarStarStar(62)

Yahoo widgets download

The Konfabulator engineYou will need the Yahoo Widget engine if you are going to run any of the Steampunk Yahoo Widgets. Download it here now!

Yahoo Widget engine Download

Xwidget downloads

The Konfabulator engineYou will need the Xwidget engine if you are going to run of the Steampunk XWidgets. Download it here now!

xwidget-title.png

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Site Last Modified:Wednesday 25 May 2016, 10:36

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