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Showing posts from September, 2012

In Anticipation For Enemies Unknown

It will still be a little over a week until XCOM: Enemy Unknown (essentially a remake of the Microprose smash hit) comes out.  I'm looking forward to the game enough that I've already spent all my entertainment dollar on a pre-order.

Unfortunately, now there's the little issue of how I'm going to burn my time from now until then.  I could try doing something productive, but unless the prospect of actual employment manifests, that's probably not going to happen.

I'd certainly like employment to happen, but these are trying times in which employers are remarkably finicky, and simple inactivity on one's work record is enough to make them apprehensive.  While I can sympathize with a desire to keep one's livelihood secure with the best help one can find, I would levy the small criticism that if few want to inconvenience themselves with the effort of bringing displaced workers back into the fold, it's little wonder the economy has been so slow to recover…

My Frugal PC Upgrade Technique

Thanks to the generosity of my mother and brother, my hardware crisis of the past few days has been averted, and I was able to successfully install a AMD FX-8120 on a Asus Sabertooth FX990 motherboard to replace my faulty parts.

If you're a PC hardware aficionado, the CPU choice probably causes you to blanch: as the latest benchmarks from the best in the business support, Intel is where the greatest power can be found on the CPU market.  However, AMD has responded intelligently to this, by slashing their prices, to the point where the AMD FX-8120 was simply the best bang for the buck among reasonably-priced CPUs.  This marketing strategy certainly worked on me: seeing how similar-performing Intel chips were significantly more expensive, I opted for the AMD chip.

This is an example of the core of my frugal PC upgrade process:
Find a good table of benchmarks for comparative products.  Like most consumer products, do not assume price always reflects the quality of the good delivered. …

Third World Gaming, Firsthand

My desktop computer's broke.  I'm currently using a Toshiba Satellite A205-S6808, and the system specs include an Intel G965 graphic card, 2 GB of ram, and a Core 2 Duo 1.66 Ghz processor.  Replacement parts for my desktop are in the mail, and (I mention out of respect to an actual third world country denizens) I acknowledge I am fortunate in that regard.

Until then, modern games are out.  For the most part, I find myself limping along with titles on DosBox because, if there's one thing this rig can handle well, it's games made years before it.  Although there are a few recent games that work fine as well, due to low graphical requirements.  Some of the better games currently at my disposal are:
X-COM: Apocalypse.  I didn't like this game much when it first came out because I was expecting turn-based strategy and this game has a rather poor implementation - real time mode simply plays better.   Today, however, I find Apocalypse to be the best of X-COMs released yet:…

Before FTL: Megatraveller 2

Well, FTL's out and I enjoyed the game about as much as I thought I would.  Sure, some people complain that the game is hard, or that it has permadeath, but unlike them I knew what I was getting into from the start.  Apparently there's already memory hack trainers out for it whose use is being bandied about as tactical advice.  Pathetic; anyone feels they need to use a memory hack or save scumming to play FTL is not worthy of the title of Federation captain. People with real scruples do not fear their ship exploding many, many times!

But I'm not here to talk about FTL - honestly, it may be a difficult game, but it's still simple enough that there's not a whole lot more to say about it than I've already said before previous entries.  No, I'm here to talk about Megatraveller 2: Quest For The Ancients, a game I revisited while waiting for FTL's release as a decent substitution.  It worked out only slightly better than AbysmalOrganism's Let's Play r…

FTL Core Tactics: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

In the dubiously proud tradition of being a place where I post things I've posted elsewhere, I'm posting to my blog a basic tips/tricks/strategy post I made on the FTL: Faster Than Light forums.

Most of what I learned about FTL tactics, I learned from watching Let's Play of other players, perhaps most often Skyorrichegg's videos.
The Basics

These are the most core mistakes I've seen new players make that come back to haunt them.

Pause often. Toggling pause is bound to the space bar for a reason: only by pausing liberally will you have the ability to order changes at maximum efficiency. The alternative involves (for example) having crew sitting around doing nothing while waiting for your mouse to get there. (Of course, you could choose to never pause deliberately as a challenge, and the same applies to any other tip on this list.)Don't just rush to the next sector - try to explore the current sector as long as you can for opportunities to collect scrap,…

Still Seeking The Space Grail

Focus has been difficult.  I've been down for about a week with that nasty cold I mentioned in the last entry, but I've had days in which I feel fine, and my thoughts are returning to game development.

It seems that a great deal of what I'm doing is trying to pursue what I've referred to as the final frontier in PC gaming.  I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about it and, being such a seasoned procrastinatorgamer procrastinator, I've certainly a number of games I've played in the past to draw upon, perhaps the foremost examples being:
Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic and Hard Nova.Sundog: Frozen Legacy.The Starflight series. The Star Control series (more 2 and 3 than 1, which was more of an action game).The Megatraveller series.Planet's Edge: The Point Of No Return - an unfortunately overlooked example.Mass Effect (more 1 than 2 or 3, which became increasingly linear and scenario-based).Prospector and ASCII Sector.
What do these games have in common?

Labor Day Weak End

Blargh.  Blargh, I say.  You know, it's one thing when you catch a nasty 24-hour flu that leaves you sick as a dog and bedridden.  It's quite another when you catch something much milder, which leaves you able enough to get on with your day, but feeling thoroughly miserable no matter what you do.  It comes and goes.  This is the parasite the powers-that-be bequeathed to me this labor day weekend, and I hope to recover soon.

Honestly, I find it just a bit suspicious how many things seem to go wrong when I'm attempting to do game development.  No sooner do I retreat to the studio than family emergencies and other interruptions begin to manifest.  Dad's complaining of heart problems.  Dad caught a Flu and I caught a lesser version of it.  The sister's pulling her hair out with finals and moving, and it sounded like I might have to travel 150 miles away to help her with the kids.  My elderly parents ended up taking the perilous trip instead - and tell me to mow the law…

My Greatest Old Flame, Going Down In Flames

Once again, I've written something on a Rock Paper Shotgun comment thread that I decided should probably be a blog entry. The topic is this:  City of Heroes closes soon. It's pretty big news to me because I don't think I blogged about any game more than this one.

I guess I played out CoX, in that my recent attempts to get back into the game met with so much inner apathy that this is something I’ve done to death already, but I don’t think there exists another game in which I’ve documented over 1600 hours playing and (probably at least half again that, off the meter). Yet, only two level-50 characters. So much alt-a-holicism under the bridge… the combination of archtype/primary power/secondary power somehow created a game that was more fun to roll up an alt than keep playing.

I suppose if the game were to be said to deserve this ignoble fate, it’d be because the community (at least on the forums) has festered into a lot of stat-slinging elitist assholes. Their tears shall …