How to play Natural Selection.

While I’m on the subject of games, here’s a how-to I found on how to play Natural Selection. It applies to a few other games that I know of as well.

Must-know etiquette for being accepted on public servers.

On the marine side…

Voicecomms Never, in any circumstances, use your microphone when anybody is shooting, building, commanding, welding, or jumping. By transmitting your futile bytes of useless information (examples: I’m in the hive, give me a pg now!/I need a weld, please), you are clogging up the game sound of the professional players, thus hindering their ability to rambo and rack up high scores. Every single sound that you make will cause fifteen cloaked skulks to spawn behind them, thus guaranteeing death.

If it’s a matter of real-life life or death, then you may be permitted to transmit as long as the professional players are in the spawn queue (which is your fault because of the previous transmission). When you transmit, you must ensure that you’re:

a) On a T3 connection, because every byte counts
b) a natural English speaker, without any kind of accent (be it national or regional)
c) pronouncing every word and syllable perfectly without stuttering, interruptions, feedback, or background noise.

If there are any imperfections whatsoever you will be instructed by the professionals to leave the server, fix your mic, buy a new mic, buy a new accent, buy a new voice, or go and play on a ‘german haxor server’.
If you need welding but you die, it is clearly your fault for not asking people over the voicecomms. When near an empty resource node, it is also your fault if you don’t call for a res node (not allowed to use comms for fear of causing death). When you ninja up to a hive and need a phase gate, you are to blame if you don’t call for the gate, since the commander has you all muted for obvious reasons.

The command chair is a somewhat important tool used by the marines to win or lose games. If you get into the commander chair for the first time, you will immediately be to blame for every single game loss that day, regardless of which side loses. When the server crashes later from all the abuse, that will also be your fault. If you’ve never commanded for a national NS team, you must delete the command chair model from your NS directory, in case you accidentally face it while humping the armoury and get in. Even if you log out straight away and never touch it again, the next commander will blame everything that goes wrong in the following game on you. The loss will be put down to ‘that nub idiot that got in the chair at the start’.

If your commander dies for whatever reason during the game, you will be instructed to get inside and beacon the marines. If you get inside only to find the observatory destroyed, this is your fault. You must relocate to a horribly obscure place so that the game will drag out another 5 minutes.

When commanding, make sure to follow every single marine 100% of the time, all at once, even if they all split up. If you find this difficult try buying multiple monitors and find a way to break the birdseye view. This will enable you to medpack the marines that get parasited once and call for medical attention. Be sure to drop resource nodes at least 1 minute before the marines get there, otherwise you will be deemed ‘slow and crap’. Make sure you pay especially close attention to the professional players, and make sure there are always at least 30 medpacks and ammo containers around them, in case they ever get bitten (which is your fault).

If you plan to command a game, make sure you already have armour 1 upgraded before you first reach the command chair. If you don’t, you are again deemed ‘slow and crap’. Don’t forget to drop ammo around the armoury so the professionals don’t have to copulate with it. If at any point during the game someone needs welding, it is your fault for not dropping welders.

Within 20 seconds you should have phase tech. Another 10 seconds you should have the majority of the upgrades from the armslab, except catpacks which should be ignored because they would make you ‘slow and crap’, which is ironic since they do the exact opposite. Within 1 minute you should have 15 res nodes, 2 hives, and jetpacks.
Be sure to pay attention to the 42609872 medpack/order/ammo requests that take up all 512meg of your ram and crash your computer when a marine has to wait more than 2 seconds for your attention. As the delightful woman-ai-marine-commander-woman-girl will happily inform you, you must hit your jump key to go to the alert. This will probably move your view to a marine that’s just died, or one in base that’s humping the armoury for a medpack and has little patience. If you’re lucky, the marine will still be alive, and will be trying to knife a fade. He will die, and blame you for lack of medpacks. Sometimes this alert will take you to a squad of 5 marines who are crouching in a cloud of poison gas. Make sure you med them every 0.5 seconds in case they go below 90hp.

If you build a turret factory anywhere, you will be proclaimed a ‘nub’. If you upgrade it though, the ‘nub’ status is removed. This is a handy way to kill hives. Never electrify anything or build any turrets, because they are obviously worthless and inferior to 7 marines that can’t aim. At the same time, make sure you have at least one hive ‘locked down’ so that no aliens can take it over, which you must accomplish using neither mines (too expensive and get placed on your chair), or turrets, or indeed marines (they’re all in double staring up at a vent that a lerk was in 9 minutes ago).

If an onos appears, prepare for massive breakage of the various ‘voicecomms’ rules. Make sure you medpack the lone shotgun marine that goes to solo the onos.

If you lose any res nodes, make sure you inform your team (not using voicecomms, remember) that the node is dying. When no-one responds and you lose the node, this is your fault because you didn’t tell anyone. However, you cannot electrify it because that makes you ‘new’. Make sure you always have at least 500 resources, so that people can have a jetpack for the readyroom on the offchance that you win. If you lose, you will be flamed with added petrolium every time you even look at the comm chair on that server, so change your nick and hope to God that no-one got your steamid.

Playing a marine
This is one of the easier roles to play, because you can be completely useless and crap and it is still somehow the fault of the commander. Be sure to delete your waypoint sprites so you have an excuse not to follow them, wander aimlessly around the map asking for weapons/jetpacks/ammo at various time periods in case your commander forgets you. If he ever takes more than 2 seconds to respond, flame him, call and admin, and eject him. Tell him he’s a ‘cs nub olol’ and he will surely take offence.

One thing you must be careful of, are the professional players. You must never go near them, just in case you steal their kill. If you save the life of such a player, surrounded by 16 onoses with only a knife out, you will still have stolen his kills. However, if he dies it is your fault (and the fault of the commander). Stay well away, because if you block them, block their shots, or make any noise whatsoever, you will immediately give away their location and be the cause of every death for the following week.

Always go and find new res nodes to build. When you call for orders, prepare to be ignored for 3 minutes. When the node is finally built, you must somehow simultaneously build another node (some distance away) and protect that one at the same time. If either get bitten once, comm will recycle base and blame you for the loss.

Make sure you follow waypoints, even obscure ones that are randomely given to you because the commander is using the ‘select all marines’ button. If you’re sitting in a hive that’s going up waiting for a phase gate and he medspams you so the aliens hear, it’s your fault for being low on health.

If you see a phase gate, you must phase through in case the other end is being attacked, so you can get raped by a bunch of hungry skulks. At the same time, if you see a phase gate you mustn’t phase through, just in case there’s another, more important gate going up elsewhere.
You must be in base, at every node, and every hive, and killing aliens, all at the same time. If you can’t multitask to this extent, you are a useless cs player.

Come to realise that the comm screaming ‘kill that fade omg 1 bar left wtf useless die argh recycling’ means that you failed to kill the fade, and it’s entirely your fault. Negate umbra, 5 onoses, 34 gorges, a hive, and the fact that you had no ammo – it is entirely your fault. If any teammates were there, they will also most likely blame you, for blocking them.

On the alien side…

Similar in most ways to the rules of the marine voicecomms, you must always report every marine everywhere (professional players don’t parasite in case it gives their position away), because any hive ninjas will be your fault. Do this without speaking at all, but if you type you will be deemed ‘too slow’.

When the game starts, ask people what chambers they want. When you get no response, drop movement, defence, and sensory chambers. As difficult as this may be with only one hive, you must find a way to please everybody. Despite only starting with 25 res, you must somehow build all 3 of each chamber, with only 1 hive/node. At the same time, you must heal everybody, take their bullets, and put up another 2 hives. If you build a single offence chamber, you are a ‘crap nub’ and will most likely be flamed off the server. When the marines jetpack kill a hive, it is your fault for not building any offence chambers.

Be sure to ‘lame up’ every single room and corridor in the map. If marines ever see any of your hives, you will lose and it’s entirely your fault. At the same time, don’t build any structures whatsoever, because they will block all the professional fades and they will die. Again, your fault.

When you’re sitting a hive telling your teammates that there are marines building a phase gate, wait 3 minutes. When you lose the hive, expect death threats from your teammates for not saying anything.

Playing an alien
Make sure you parasite every single marine, otherwise you will cause the death of every single teammate. Also, make sure you never parasite any marines, in case a professional skulk was about to ambush him. You’re not allowed to move in NS at all as an alien unless you can bunnyhop perfectly.

If you ever die, ever, you are accused of feeding marines.

If a professional player dies, it is your fault for not building enough chambers/ocs/hives/nodes so they can re-fade. Alternatively, it is your fault for building too many of these things so that they block said fade.
If you’re not a national team chamption fade of godly proportions, you are not allowed to fade. You must practice fading in combat, which will make you get used to playing with every upgrade. If you ever die as a fade in classic, the entire game loss is your fault. If you cause them to beacon, fail to kill their advanced armoury, fail to spend 3 minutes eating a res node, then expect your entire team to f4 because you’re so useless.
If you ever have more than 3 res you are a res whore. If you ever have less than 3 res you suck, because you’re not building enough nodes or killing any marines.

When moving around the map, make sure you are never within 90 yards of any other aliens. If you hit a mine and a professional player dies to a turret on the other side of the map, it is your fault. If for whatever reason you do fade and you die to 32 fully-upgraded jetpack hmg marines with catpacks, you are clearly a noob. The game loss is your fault.

If you somehow win the game as aliens, you must either egg or suicide at the end, otherwise you’re deemed a ‘nub.

General Strategies

Always build MCs first. This means that players who like to lerk a lot are unkillable. It also means you can MC rush the hive which marines inevitabley take, which usually fails because most people are afk or attacking marine start pointlessly. When you find yourself the only alien to have MC’d through, you must kill every single marine and structure yourself. If you fail, the game loss is your fault.

If you onos, you must never die. If the aliens see an onos die, ever, the game is lost. The conditions are unimportant, just make sure you never die, even if that means hiding under the hive for the entire map.
If you’re commanding, the moment you take a hive, the aliens will whine about lockdowns. If you then take another hive, the aliens will whine about the game being ruined.

As their desperate fades kill every single marine and res node you have, while killing the advanced armoury and armslab in base, you must ‘finish them’ or you are accused of taking too long. Even as they pointlessly MC rush new hives delaying you, you should still be expected to win. 9 lerks sitting next to MCs spamming horribly large amounts of gas into the only entrance to the hive is no excuse for marines to delay while getting HA, they are clearly new for failing to win the game quickly.

If you find yourself winning as aliens, be sure to completely ignore the 3 jetpack HMGS frantically defending marine start while ‘finishing them’. You are expecting to kill every structure in their base while being shotgunned by 8 marines who have supposedly given up and are not even trying anymore, while they ninja a PG in your 3rd hive and take it down, again complaining that you’re not finishing it fast enough.

Regardless of which map you play, always relocate to double. Even if there isn’t a double res, pretend there is one. If you really can’t manage this, find the most horribly cramped, dark, damp, dank, ghastly corridor in the map and relocate there. Be sure to arrange your structures so that a freshly spawned marine will have to spend 8 minutes twisting their limbs around various turrets and armourys in order to get out of base. Don’t drop any mines either.

Make sure you always secure cold turn on Ayumi, because if you don’t then you’ve ‘lost the game’. At the same time, pretend you didn’t secure it, because if you do then you’ve ‘ruined the game’. Subtley attempt to lock down 2 hives without actually locking them down, otherwise you will be declared ‘lame’. On eclipse, always rush computer core. Once you have 530 turrets in there, tell the one-hive aliens that they have every chance of taking it back, and they should ‘adapt’.

Don’t forget that the map can always be blamed for any loss, any situation, or any server crash. Whatever happens, it is because it was a ‘shit map’.

Remember: People with icons are obviously and naturally much better at NS than people without. Regardless of what the icon represents, you must always stack the team with the most icons. This will create short predictable boring games, that everyone loves. Whenever you die, tell your opressor to fix his rates, to stop ‘warping’, and the reg is shit.

And most of all, have fun!

BOOM!!! POP!!! BLAM!!!

That’s the sound an electrical transformer makes when it explodes in spectacular fashion…

Here’s the story. At around 16:00 on Tuesday, I was sitting in my office pretty much doing nothing, waiting for 17:00 to come so that I could go home, when suddenly the big electical transformer that supplies the whole block EXPLODED, as in loud pops and bangs and lots of white smoke coming out of it. Said power box is right outside my office, so as you can well imagine I nearly made a nasty mess in my pants when it happened. Off home we went (no point in staying further). Eskom did a temporary fix that evening (temporarily restoring power), with the repair crew arriving the next day to sort out the problem. Out went the power again at 09:00, and a few minutes observing the repair crew (too much “eish” and not enough work) was enough to persuade us that there would be no power for the rest of the day. So, off we went to Westmead and hired a generator so that we could at least put our servers back up (there are a lot of people outside the company reliant on those servers), then we were all given the rest of the day off.

At least I had something to do while at home, as Telkom had installed my ADSL on Tuesday. With the servers back up, I was able to VPN into the network and get some work done. That, and play some games when I’d done all that I could have done. 🙂

We’re now looking at buying a permanent generator for the servers. We had quite a few power failures last week as well (Eskom’s so-called “load shedding”), and we just can’t go on like this…

To make matters worse, somewhere amongst the power failures our Exchange server decided to die (it obviously decided that it had enough of Eskom). As Murphy would have it, the backups didn’t work. It’s currently being reinstalled as we speak, but a lot of people have lost a lot of mail as a result of this. At least I wasn’t expecting anything important.

Oh, and if you’re ever contemplating post-graduate studies, head over to rooijan‘s blog and read his latest post there. It’s put me off ever doing it. 😉

How to survive a week on your own.

I present to you: Ron’s Survival Guide. To be used when the rest of the family is away in Cape Town.

  1. Make sure you have food that’s of the “put it in the microwave for five minutes” variety. Particularly if you can’t cook.
  2. Make sure you have some new trance livesets to listen to.
  3. Rent out some good films.
  4. Invite three of your friends over for a LAN at your place when it gets too lonely and too boring.
  5. Make sure that the dogs aren’t too much of a nuisance when aforementioned friends come over.
  6. If you’re really lucky, Telkom will pay you a surprise visit to check the local phone lines for ADSL connectivity. (As a follow-up, I phoned them this morning, and they still say that they’ll do the installation on the 18th.)
  7. There was a #7, but I’ve forgotten it now.

Why is Telkom so useless?

This is the sad story of trying to get ADSL…

My ADSL was ordered on the January 7th – the closest date to my return from Australia that I could get to a Telkom store. (Was told that actually physically going to a store was a better alternative to ordering over the phone or online). After giving them a few weeks, I phoned their call centre on the 29th (last week Monday) and was told that it would be installed on February 3rd and that a technician would call me later in the week to confirm a time to do the installation. So, I’m thinking “OK, great!” – but the week goes past and I hear nothing. I called them again last Friday (was planning to call them the day before, but that was the day that I was sick) and was now told “no installation date has been set”! So, I went from having an installation date to not having one. Typical bastards. On Monday this week (the day that my ADSL was originally scheduled to be installed), I phone their useless call centre again, just to see what was going on, and I got the same excuse.

Right, I thought. Flame time.

Off I went to Hellopeter and left a complaint. The Telkom staff that actually know what goes on (I’m surprised such people exist) read those comments and respond to them, and sure enough they phoned me up, promising to find out what the problem was. Not too long after that, I get their excuse – they apparently needed to upgrade the infrastructure in Kloof (and I have noticed some Telkom vehicles in the area around my place lately, so they were obviously doing something). After another call to their call centre this morning (and spending 15 minutes on hold listening to their rubbish canned music), I was told that the estimated time for installation is now the 18th.

Now, why couldn’t they have told me that they needed to upgrade their infrastructure in the first place? And why couldn’t their call centre tell me what I needed to know? Seems like it’s a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Telkom is so useless, it’s almost like they WANT to go out of business when Neotel starts up.

I’m hoping that they’ll keep their promises this time, but then again, this is Telkom that we’re dealing with. My friend Craig has also ordered ADSL at his place in Glenwood about three weeks after my order was placed; at this rate he’ll have his before I get mine.

I’ll keep you all posted as to further developments.

This just isn’t my week.

To make this week even worse, I ended up with some food poisoning after dinner at the Ocean Basket on Wednesday night. Both my mom and I had the same dish, and we both woke up in the early hours of the morning feeling extremely sick. As usual, I was the worse one off, and consequently I spent much of yesterday lying in my bed feeling like I was about to die. I’ve pretty much recovered now though.

Definitely not my week. First the problems with my switch (which hasn’t yet arrived), and now this…

In other news, the rest of the family leaves for Cape Town tomorrow to take my annoying little sister to UCT. I’ll be staying behind to look after the house, two dogs and two budgies. What fun.