Category Archives: Fun

Notes on some games in the Wars genre

Mecho Wars


  • No fog of war
  • Super high quality animation
  • First strike advantage
  • Terrain provides defence
  • Decent unit silhouettes
  • High quality attack animations
  • Turns take an “hour” and daylight shifts
  • No water units?
  • No rivers
  • Heavy focus on indirect attacks
  • Air units common
  • Attack screen is never split screen. All attacks similar to Advance War’s indirect attacks.
  • City capture rare
  • Storyline
  • Instant city capture

Famicom Wars

  • Minor commander powers only in Super Famicom edition
  • No first strike advantage
  • City capture common
  • Has ammo and fuel
  • Units may have two attack modes


Advance Wars

  • Commander powers
  • First strike advantage
  • Self-destructive units
  • City capture common
  • Units may have two attack modes
  • Has ammo and fuel
  • Storyline


Front Wars


  • End turn has 5 second skip-able countdown
  • 2 team unique art
  • Attack screen is split screen
  • First strike advantage
  • Decent attack animations
  • Terrain gives defence

Gachinko Wars


  • Produce units from HQ like Famicom Wars
  • First strike advantage
  • Fast animations
  • Poor attack animations
  • Terrain provides defence
  • City capture common
  • City capture occurs by leaving a unit on a city
  • Upgrade cities for 150% revenue
  • Units can be merged
  • Far moves per turn
  • Cannot attack just built units
  • Must surround (as games calls it: siege) factories to occupy
  • Cannot win by killing all units
  • Victory requires capturing all cities and factories
  • No ammo or fuel



  • Decent sprite art
  • super large maps
  • Cities can garrison units
  • City capture common
  • Instant city capture



  • Has fog of war
  • No separate attack screen, all attacks over in overworld
  • Hexagon tiles
  • Decent animations
  • Sprites can rotate two directions, not always facing enemy
  • Units can repair in field
  • End turn has 5 second skip-able countdown
  • No first strike advantage
  • City capture rare
  • Place-able mines
  • 2 teams with unique art
  • No ammo or fuel

Great Big War Game


  • Attack screen is a 3d zoom focus into the two units
  • 3d art
  • Has fog of war
  • Special engineer unit for city capture
  • 10 vehicles + 9 infantry types
  • Instant city capture
  • City capture common
  • All attacks long distance
  • Elevation increases range
  • Elevation affects range of sight
  • Units can be promoted
  • has ammo and fuel
  • Infantry identified by icon on head
  • Fresh built units can move first turn
  • Artillery has splash damage
  • Factories produce multiple units per turn
  • Units cannot move onto buildings
  • Heavy rock-paper-scissors
  • Medics can heal infantry
  • Move multiple times per turn until movepoints consumed
  • Captured factories can produce units
  • Victory requires destroying HQ

Bypassing ShawOpen Wifi’s Captive Portal

Shaw, a local cable monopoly, has started offering businesses a free wifi with free internet connection if they allow the installation of a public wifi access point. If you are a Canadian in the western provinces you might have seen these networks under the name “ShawOpen”. The term open in this case is misleading since only customers with shaw accounts can access the internet. The entire thing is a clever branding of the 2.4GHz frequency and businesses love being able to “offer” wifi with no cash out of their pocket.


Meanwhile I’m sitting here in the doctor’s waiting room and I am bit less enthusiastic over the ordeal. If Shaw wasn’t offering this service there is a good chance my doctor would be providing usable internet. Instead all I can do is poke around inspecting things.


There is more to inspect than initial impressions give. ShawOpen allows unauthenticated users to browse Shaw’s webportal and other Shaw owned web properties.


The easy bypass is through DNS which is unrestricted. While most protocols are blocked for unauthenticated users DNS requests are often not. In general restricted wifi access points do not restrict DNS because it requires setting up a special DNS server and isn’t the easiest solution. Since it is a common work around you can use iodine to proxy your traffic. To my discredit I don’t have a dns2ip proxy setup on my server so this is no use to me.


Instead with an unknown period of waiting ahead I set about inspecting those Shaw owned web properties. The best list for our needs is found at the bottom of Shaw Connect Lite. The full version of connect can be found here over the full internet. which also contains the list.


What you want to use for this task is either Firefox Development Tools or Chrome Development Tools. The panel of interest is the network connections tab. This will show what resources have been requested by the page.


What we want to find is a request which contains another url in the get parameters. These requests may be going to a proxy which is allowed to access the real interenet. You will find some false starts and will want to ignore anything going to Twitter or Facebook as these requests are for the social media buttons.


What you want is something like this:×70&src=

Notice how it includes a full url to another domain. This is what you want to look for and there are a few of them on different accessible websites. This exact image proxy requires us to specify a size value in the get request but will accept 0x0 to skip resizing.


Thus allowing us to request:

In theory you could tunnel IP through these image proxies to your own proxy similar to how iodine functions. Of course it is more fun to find these loop-holes than use them so you may just want to do that.

Minecraft image set #3

Inspired by my brother’s pig farm I built my own industrial ranch.

The sheep side


The cattle side


In minecraft you can breed animals with only two pieces of wheat. Since we have an industrial wheat farm it only makes sense to build an industrial cattle and sheep ranch.

Initial sheep population

Final sheep population

Final cow population

With so many sheep you can jump into the pen, fling the shears around like a wild man and come out with enough wool to build several houses. If you stay at it and keep the herd sheared you’ll soon have too much wool.

For very large values of too much.

In my case it was enough to build an inverted pyramid house.

An inverted pyramid made of wool

The pyramid is four stories high with an interior so plain I had to remove one of the floors to keep things interesting.

It has a nice view of the farm as well