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Showing posts from April, 2012

Minecraft Hardcore Mode Is A Bitch, I Mean, Blast

I eventually did break down and install Mo'Creatures, Extra Biomes (Classic), and Optifine (the Smooth version runs relatively gloriously).  Now that I have my little mod mix settled, I'm having a great time in Minecraft... it's a pity that I currently have no saved game to show for it.


Playing "hardcore mode" means I have to start completely over every time I die, as it deletes the entire world (your character inclusive).  So far, the causes of death have been:
Visiting the Nether in order to get some glowstone, things seemed to be going swimmingly until I encountered Flame Wraiths (added with Mo'Creatures).  They didn't look too tough, I bet I could take em', and if I got caught on fire I'd just use my bucket to put myself out.  Turns out, buckets of water instantly evaporate if you try to use them in The Nether.  RIP.Loading an earlier Hardcore game I had abandoned because of lag issues (now resolved), I successfully secured some glowstone and …

Sweetening The Autism Simulator

In open-world games such as Elder Scrolls (Oblivion, Skyrim, whatever), MMORPGs, and Minecraft, I oft reach a point after extended play where I ask myself, "what's the point of all this?"  Ultimately, what the player is doing is accumulating, but to what end?
In a single player RPG such as the Elder Scrolls series, it's typically with the idea you're going to complete the story.In an MMORPG, motivations to play tend to vary from player to player.In Minecraft, the reason tends to be to build something cool.   In each case, once you lose interest in the goal, the appeal of the accumulation mechanic tends to fail: why should you care about virtual "wealth" if you have nothing good to do with it but watch it grow?

All is not lost for Minecraft, however.  With some subtle game-developer-like tweaks to the Yogbox, I think I can improve the situation a bit.

Hooked On Minecrack

Minecraft has certainly made quite the splash in the PC world.  Who can say why?  It's a crude, remarkably slow-to-develop game whose main vanilla-version appeal is that it can pull an impressive simulation of randomly generated terrain from simple blocks.  Then you can go out and do things with those blocks, and that's the whole game.  Personally I'd attribute Minecraft's success to a combination of a Valve mention and that there's a child within many of us who still loves playing in the sandbox.  Minecraft's block-like structure, as crude as it looks, makes such constructive play easy, and the 3D nature gives it that much more impact to our brains.


The weekend before last (about 10 days ago) the younger brother stopped by and talked gaming.  I mentioned to him I was playing The Sims 3 wholly to justify having spent so much money on it.  He mentioned he was playing the Yogbox, a compilation of Minecraft mods, and apologized in advance because he knew I would …

Afterlight Afterglow

Sometimes I run across a game of some 5-10 years back and reflect on how it seems nobody was able to top it today.  One such game is Altar/Cenega's UFO: Afterlight.  I first tried the game when I had a GameTap subscription some time ago (I'm unsure if they still have it in their catalog) and I rather enjoyed it at the time.  Upon noticing this 2007 game is down to a mere $10 on Steam, I forked out the dosh and have been hooked over the last week.


As if the name isn't clue enough, Altar set out to create games in homage to the wildly successful X-Com series, which were essentially squad-based turn-driven combat games that pit humanity against alien invaders.  Their first two attempts, UFO: Aftermath (2003) and UFO: Aftershock (2005), were rather buggy and lackluster but, as the old saying goes, "The third time's the charm," and UFO:Afterlight  is actually quite brilliant.

The thing that makes this something I want to blog about is, as a dabbler in game design …