On Airsoft… yet again and NAA

I’m starting to think I need to find some other things apart from airsoft to post about – my blog really does look like all I do is airsoft. However, I will be writing updates on the work I do, partially to assist with my handins at the end of the year but also to make me write something every week. I’ll put a copy up on here but it will go up first on my portfolio at http://hntdaab.co.uk/final-year-work-diary/

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However the primary thing to talk about this week is the last airsoft trip on the 21st. This was the second official trip of the year and its the first time many of the new guys have played against public players. Luckily, Northern Airsoft Alliance is perhaps one of the best sites to play at thanks to a great set of marshalls combined with a wide variety of terrain from paintball obstacles to trenches to some CQB style fights in the central, bomb shed area. Overall, the day was really fun with the vast majority of players sticking to the rules, taking hits and playing the game properly. The only issues with most players is the usual lack of movement with them instead relaying on sitting back and dumping magazine after magazine.

The biggest issue is with a small group of players. As with most other airsoft games, there is always a small group who come along with only one aim – not to play the game but just to win even if it means ignoring the rules. You can probably spot them in the safe zone at every game – DDPM/Multicam/ACU camo, covered in vests and pouches and wielding M4s covered in all the latest gear. Now, not everyone who wears this combination is a horrible, horrible cheater – one of our guys at Teesside wears full multicam and wields a Masada while at the same time putting the manoeuvre in fire and manoeuvre . However, more often then not the gents who have put vast sums of money into their kit turns them into invincible super soldiers in their head. They will avoid hits, disobey safety rules such as fire mode limits and pyro usage and generally set the worst example to new players. Which is a real shame, as due to Teesside’s large number of players at an open day, we normally end up taking up an entire side leaving any newer players stuck with the inevitable group of cheaters.

This has led me to decide that in future Teesside will split itself in half if we turn up to the site and fill an entire team. The effect of this is two fold – first, we know each team will have a selection of players that don’t just sit back and shoot from out of range and secondly, any new players (of which there are quite a few at NAA) get to have a group of people who can show them a different way to play.

The other issue I have with NAA at the moment ties into the issue with some less than reputable players and focuses on a recent addition to the site – The Dark Room (you can see the side of it below as we stack up on it.)

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Up until recently the bunkers within the bomb shed area at NAA were primarily ignored – this was due to multiple reasons such as their lack of cover on the inside, the single entrances prevent escape in the event of a mass attack and how cut off they were from each other requiring either a climb over the banking around them or risking the alleyways which are always covered in enemy fire.

NAA have done a lot to solve this problem

  1. Cut through sections at the cross sections of the banking allowing players to move across the spine without either revealing themselves to enemy fire or having to climb up muddy banks.
  2. Cutting holes through the walls of the bunkers to allow multiple entrances – takes a long time but allows players to move from bunker to bunker without having to double back on themselves and preventing players being able to hold a room until pyro (grenades to you and me) is applied.
  3. Adding hard cover to some open bunkers – this means players sat on the banking are not able to clear out 90% of a bunker by just shooting in
  4. Create a darkened CQB focused rooms with two doorways and hard cover within

Now this last point is the sticking point – as one of the marshalls at NAA put it, CQB is two step away from a fight at all times. The room is a really exciting thing – its a moment of no return as you round those doors into the ink blackness that under the correct circumstances can be equivalent to a door breach in Call of Duty.

The problem is when players with in the room ignore the rules of the game such as not taking hits or ignoring grenade blasts. This can lead to the attackers becoming exceedingly annoyed especially when meatshield tactics, which normally work wonders with two entry points, don’t work. On the weekend multiple players on our team effectively threw threw the dummy out of the pram and stopped playing.

In order to fix this, a marshall or a CCTV set up needs to be inside the bunker at all times when it is being used as a a focus point for an objective. This then allows them to call out players when grenades or assaults go in while at the same time providing proof to the more irritating players that they are actually dead. It also allows NAA to record some great footage of CQB breaching sequences if they go the CCTV route. No matter what happens, I’m really interested to see how they intend to prevent the building from being the sticking point it currently is.

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I normally include a gun write up and this time is no different;

  • Thompson – Once again proving its use as the best AEG I have open – reliable, dependable and able to match range with most people’s tuned up guns. I tried duct taping the mags together this time and it worked pretty good. It speeds up relaod times but makes it impossible to lie down
  • KWA Mk23 – Still loving this pistol. Solid weight, nice blowback kick and frightening range even in winter. Compared the SIG, I used this in most of the rounds of airsoft I used the M79 as the sidearm thanks to its usefulness. I now have a silencer for it as well but I need to remove the barrel extender which is a little to heavy for the free floating barrel of the Mk23.
  • M79 – To be honest, I had the most fun on the weekend while using my M79. I’ve previously been put off using it thanks to the pain of having to reload the shells. I decdided to put in the effort this weekend and loaded most of my ten shells up to the brim. And then proceeded to have a ball. The blooper is a weapon of great potential usefulness, tempered only slighltly by the skill required to use it – along with the realisation that it has nowhere near the range you want. I managed to get a good few kills with it (one where I hadn’t actually loaded the shell).

Overall, I had a fun time – its just a shame about a few people ruining it. Expect some more posts soon either here or on my work diary. I will be putting summary posts up here once in a while.

On University, Airsoft and Games

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We’re three weeks back into the university term and things are starting pile up in terms of stuff to think about. I’m really enjoying the start of this year and some of the projects I’m working on are quite interesting if not challenging. Particularly, I’m enjoying my group project where I am working with designers, animators, artists and sound engineers to create a game. The only issue is that we are doing it in the Unreal Development Kit which means I have to go and relearn Unrealscript which is not the most pleasant of languages.


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Also as part of being back at university I’ve also been back in the role of chairman of the Airsoft Club, as opposed it its summer role of glorified forum admin. We had a really good fresher’s stall where about 112 people signed up for information on the airsoft club. Sadly, as is the way with things, not all these people come back but we have had a good few new guys who seem really interested in the sport and getting involved.

This was helped by the Give It A Go I helped to run on the 6th of October. It worked really well – a big group of the old guys came back to help make the new guys welcome. The day ended up being one of the best airsoft days I’ve played on – action was fast paced all day and although people were taking hits at quite close range we didn’t have any serious injuries which is always a plus.

It did unfortunately reveal a few flaws with my kit. In the continuing adventures of Charge being a fool, I seem to have lost my only KWA Mk23 mag which is a real shame so I didn’t get to use it despite it being a fantastic pistol. My M16 was also playing up. After unfortunately cracking the M203 attachment point, the M16 is now running with the standard handguard. Well I say running I really mean breaking – it still doesn’t fire properly consistently which is a real shame. However, I’ve decided that based on what I might be doing next year if I get the grades I need, I’m going to fix up and then sell off the M16. Its just a little too long and I’m getting bored of trying to get it working. I’ve already ordered its replacement – I just have to get round to getting the M16 fixed and sold off. As soon as my new toy arrives, expect a little article on it either here or on the Tumblr.

In other airsoft news, come the 14th of October I will have been airsofting for two years. In which time, I’ve bought a far few guns (a bit too many if I’m honest) but I think I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to the find the kit I actually want to keep such as my Thompson which is a great reliable AEG that I can lend out and not worry about it coming back with half the gun gone. So hopefully by the end of the school year I won’t need to buy any more guns unless they break or something similar. Hopefully.


When I haven’t been airsofting (or working), I’ve actually been managing to play a few games. We are not going to talk about the thrashing I received at Crash Team Racing from my housemates but instead about X-Com, a game that at the time of me posting this will have been out for just over 48 hours in the UK.

The original X-Com was a little bit before my time and I have never played it. However I was and still am a big fan of similar games – I was excited over the Summer to see Silent Storm and its expansion being re-released in a format that works on modern machines. Silent Storm really introduced me to this tactical, squad based strategy games something I can play slowly while looking carefully at what is going on. In a similar vein, I have really been enjoying Jagged Alliance: Back in Action (admittedly with some mods on) although there are a few issues I have with its controls and its pause, play mechanics.

The new X-Com also has the pedigree of coming from Firaxis, one of my favourite game developers and the studio responsible for the Civilisation series. I’m one of the the few heretics that preferred Civ 5 over Civ 4, enjoying its slimming down in exchange for an improvement in the combat in terms of chokepoints actually mattering rather than just being somewhere you drive your Stack o’ Doom through. You can see the lineage of this in X-Com with it taking a very complex set of systems and making them easy to get into.

X-Com is all about protecting Earth from invasion by an evil band of extra terrestrials. You have to set up your base, research new technology derived from existing tech and captured alien kit, level up your experienced team, keep them equipped with the latest kit and all the while try to keep every nation on your side. Its a game of give and take – keeping your interceptor aircraft updated is a vital part of protecting Earth yet at the same time it saps pressure money from your base building and also from giving your pressure squad all the items it needs to save Earth. Abductions are the worst – saving a group in the UK might grant you a whole new experienced team member but ignoring another nation for too long will lead to them backing out of X-Com, depriving you of precious funds and giving the UFOs a nice hole in your radar coverage to zoom through before causing havoc elsewhere. To make this worse, once a nation has left, that’s it – there is no way to get them back on board.

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The game is also heart breaking, in a way that Silent Storm and Jagged Alliance can never be thanks to one very simple feature – being able to name your team members. I’ve been naming mine based on my fellow airsofters (which made naming the female squad members a problem after a while) which can be a little hit and miss. Its gut wrenching to see someone named after your friend go down in a stupid way. I’ve only restarted from an old save once after a stupid control mistake led to half the team going down so I’m pretty grateful that so far I’ve only sent three people to death so far.

Overall as a game, its fantastic. The tactical combat is really tight, requiring you to really stick to cover, advance slowly and take advantage of all your different abilities. Like most of these games, X-Com is not afraid to be utterly horrifying to you – expect some of your characters to go down in horrifying brutal ways which will make you feel a little bit cheated but it still keeps you playing. Thanks to Firaxis’ great way of explaining all these system you don’t really feel like you are loosing control. In addition, when you play it right, the highs are fantastic. Seeing your group down hordes of x-rays more than makes up for the missions where you struggle to drag your team through.

The best way to explain how good it is is to say how I started playing it. I got back from a night out at 2 in the morning, burger in hand, and proceeded to unlock the game on Steam planning to only play for about an hour or so. The first thing to pull me away from the game was the sound of my 7am alarm going off. I’m really enjoying and I look forward to the end game that seems to be rapidly approaching at a speed of knots ready to send my entire squad off to meet their maker.


In terms of other games, I’ve also had a little play of Metal Gear Solid 4. Apparently its some sort of stealth game but I’ve been running through it using an M60 and the custom M4. Its been covered by hundreds of other people before but its a fun game, really focused on its story and being ridiculous. Action plays out well and having fun using the gun customisation. I’ve also played some more FTL and its still worth a play. Black Mesa is also fun – well worth a play especially if you have never played Half Life.

That’s all for now. I will be posting some more blog posts but they will primarily be final year project focused and will be seen over on a new blog I’ll be setting up soon – more details soon