Piloting, from hercs to mechs.

Piloting, from hercs to mechs.
A running recap of what I'm doing for fun, between active duty flying, technology, gadgets, and some of my favorite games.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New dad gaming...a pseudo how-to for Blizzard fans with a newborn kiddo

Have a kid and your world will be rocked...certainly for the better.

If you're like me, you'll be very focused on that child, helping out the wifey, and you'll probably still have to go to the old J-O-B.

C130J...if it ain't rainin', it ain't trainin'

This post is for you, if you still want to get your gaming fix in, especially if you are an avid Blizzard fan.

1. Hearthstone is now on your iPhone.

I played the entire Blackrock Mountain campaign on my iPhone.

2. 5-minute gaming strategies for WoW on your laptop.

I get to add captions to any pictures of my kid.

3. Mobile Warcraft options using Splashtop.

This is a screenshot from my iPad, which plays at about 15 fps with a 1 second lag.

Those are a few of the good options available...I'll expand on each of them, some now, and some in future posts.

First of all, if you have ever played a CCG, you will likely enjoy Hearthstone.  It is a particularly well-done game, and the iPhone port is phenomenal.  It runs better on my iPhone 6 Plus than it does on my iPad 2.  It was an absolute thrill to start that game, btw...the campaign unlock portion I found to be very fun.  Even now, my go-to form of playing Hearthstone is playing against the innkeeper with fun decks I create.  I'm not a particularly competitive person.  So, if you like CCGs and you enjoy Warcraft, you simply must try this free-to-play masterpiece out.  Admittedly, after I got into the game I spent some iTunes cash to get some new decks, but you can have a ton of fun without spending a dime.

"5-minute gaming" is kind of a play on words from a good book "One Minute Manager," which I read because I like leadership and efficiency books.  There is a way to play WoW five minutes at a time, although this is an idea that I have yet to truly flesh out into a real method.  I can tell you that some aspects of WoW are entirely exclusive to those people who have huge chunks of time they can spend gaming without major interruptions.  I am no longer one of those people, and I have not been since I stopped serious raiding during TBC.  While I miss raiding, I still enjoy the game.  Therefore, I have to find ways to play that don't take a ton of time.

What can "5 minute gaming" NOT do for you?  You won't be able to raid, run 5-mans, complete lengthy quest chains at one time, or even

How do you play WoW five minutes at a time?  I think the answer begins with some basics.  Have small objectives that cater to a larger goal you've set.  For example, if your goal is to have a level 100 of a certain class, you can level that alt five minutes at a time.

Want to get more out of your five minutes?  Get a leveling addon, such as Zygor, WowPro, Dugi, etc.

Other helpful 5-minute leveling tips: choose "exit game" when you have to leave quickly, instead of hearthing.  (You can zone back in and pick up where you left off, instead of having to travel back...the slight rested experience accrued is NOT worth the travel time.)  Pay attention to opportunity costs while gaming!  Addons can really help you be more efficient.  Here are some addons I love: Master Plan, Topfit, RealUI (stay tuned for a full blog post on this gem), and EasyMail.  Also, have a bank alt that is in a major city!  Simply send your sellable items there and don't bother trying to move your current levelers or garrison players to those cities...not worth your time.  Some other things that "5 minute gaming" can really apply to: reputation grinding for bodyguards or factions in WoD, garrison chores, and social conversations.

Finally, there is a particularly unique way to transport World of Warcraft over to the world of mobile gaming.  No, they have not created a playable WoW port on your iPhone or iPad, although that would be FANTASTIC.  However, a streaming app called "Splashtop" is very capable of controlling your WoW characters with a surprising level of fidelity.  Splashtop has a feature you can pay for that allows you to create your own overlay controls, and this can make WoW into a console-ish game where you control your movement with one thumb and your camera angle with your other thumb.  I also added buttons that would function as keys, such as 1-4, Q, E, R, Enter, Escape, etc.  With these basic controls I can get around, even collect the ore and herbs in my garrison.  I intend to improve and validate my design by doing some leveling using only my iPad.  Oh, by the way, those essential splashtop controls are only available for their iPad app, not their iPhone app.  But anyways, it is pretty cool to be able to sign on my iPad and play WoW at all.  The lag between your control input and the character response is dependent on the connection.  If you are playing on the same Wifi network, it's about a half-second delay.  The video on the same Wifi, by the way, is stunning...it's about 15 fps on my iPad!  Over the internet (another service in Splashtop you must pay for), it's certainly lower fps.

Here is the Splashtop setup: WoW must be installed on a computer, either PC or Mac, and the Splashtop Streamer app must be running.  (This works best with only one active monitor.)  You log into Splashtop Personal on your iPad and choose "native resolution" for the computer.  When you connect to that computer, you should put it in trackpad mode for best use, then activate the gaming controls if you bought that feature (which you should if you intend to play WoW).  You are essentially using a VPN to access that computer, and you can do anything...one of the things it does well is WoW.  That screenshot above shows you how it can look.  Configure your Splashtop buttons to include the important keys you would find yourself pushing.  The left-most circle is the movement button, which allows for WASD-type movement.  The red button on the right is my solution to camera angle problems.  I configured it to "right click then drag," and then I turned the Splashtop sensitivity all the way down.

If you jailbreak your iPad, from what I hear, you can actually get a bluetooth mouse to work with your iPad...THAT would be the best of all worlds, but I have not even tried this yet.

OK...so these are some different methods I use to still get my gaming fix in while living a very dynamic life which requires my attention minute-to-minute.  Let me know if you have any other ideas!

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