According to the Xbox statistics, my most played games this year were Elite: Dangerous and Destiny 2. Contrary to the number of hours played I got the best experience from older single player games I finished this year.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
I have not played the original Tomb Raiders, but I enjoyed the previous instalment of the franchise. Overall the game was enjoyable but feels a bit too much like a plain shooter from time to time. It would also be nice to have the tombs to play a more prominent role in the main plot.
I decided to get Firewatch after getting fed up with grindy experience in Destiny and Elite: Dangerous. I wanted something compact to be able to finish quickly, and I was not disappointed. The game is basically a walking simulator but the art is pretty, and the plot is interesting enough. I also liked the fact that you can try to do some actual role-playing with the conversations. I might even return to the game some time to try out different options.
Assassin’s Creed III
Assassin’s Creed III was a bit of surprise since I am not that much of fan of the series. I got the game years ago for Xbox 360 because I was liked the era and inclusion of sailing. When the game became available through backwards compatibility, I decided to return to the game. I also finished Black Flag this year, and even if it is technically better, I enjoyed the plot and setting of Assassin’s Creed III more.
Recently, I got an itch to buy a telescope, and after some research, I wanted to get a rich field refractor like Skywatcher 102/500 StarTravel. However, I decided to start with 10×50 binoculars due to lower price and portability. I live in a city and dragging a telescope and mount around in public transportation could kill the interest in the hobby quickly.
The current weather is not well suited for stargazing, and so far there has been only one clear evening after I got the binoculars. Light pollution was a smaller problem than I anticipated, but bright lights at eye level make it hard for the eyes to adjust appropriately.
I had not much time to prepare for my first observation and just went to a nearby plaza to look at whatever was visible at the time. The moon was almost full, and the Pleiades were visible and I tried to do some astrophotography by putting the binoculars on a tripod and attaching my smartphone to the ocular.
Capturing the moon did not go too well. I was not able to get exposure and focus just right. With the Pleiades, I had better luck and the result – along with a reference view from Stellarium – can be seen in the gallery above. I also tried to fill in the names of the stars. Hopefully, I did not make too many mistakes.
I prepared to final image from five one second ISO 800 exposures with Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (f/1.7 4.2 mm). I used AutoStakkert 3 to stack the images and edited in Affinity Photo. The quality of the result is not very good, but there are quite a few stars visible along with colour.
I am now waiting for good weather to get a second round of astrophotography. I am better-prepared setup my smartphone for astrophotography, and I also plan to try using my Olympus PEN mirrorless system camera.
The Keelback is the cheapest ship which can fit a fighter hangar. I bought it to have some variation while bounty hunting for community goals. It is surprisingly fun to fly, and the rotating thrusters look cool. The mothership is not very agile, but the option to switch to the fighter makes up for that. I outfitted turrets to make aiming easier and missiles to finish off enemies.
I first tried passenger missions with the Hauler, but due to limited space and jump range, I did not find enjoyable. After getting more credits via trading and community goals, I wanted to give passengers another try and bought a proper passenger ship.
The Dolphin has sleek looks and is fun to fly. So far I have been doing sightseeing missions which are relatively effortless with Dolphin’s decent jump range and a fuel scoop. I want to try a data collecting mission next, but so far I have not had the time for a long trip.