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Showing posts from September, 2013

This Might Be A Good Blog Entry Format For Me

Now Playing: The Sims Medieval

You know, I don't hate the Sims 3 at all.  It's just that I was left feeling that I had done everything.  I had raised sim people with all the professions worth doing in Ambitions.  I made my sims immortal in Generations.  I had seen all the foreign lands in World Adventures.  I played with all the expansions, dabbling with all the life states, from robots to imaginary friends to genies.  Come to think of it, I didn't bother to raise a baby to an adult, maybe I'm just too emotionally insecure for that?  But, in any case, I got everything out of Sims 3 that it had to offer which I wanted to get out of it.
Along comes The Sims Medieval, and it's essentially a whole different game.  Deep down, it's still The Sims 3, they just replaced the neighborhood with a medieval countryside.  However, they did away with the majority of the needs meters - now all your Sim needs to do is eat and sleep - and instead most "moodlets" just a…

Knighthood, Gaming, And Other Employment Matters

Now Playing: Knights Of Pen And Paper.

I still have a bit of a cold, and consequently have largely been aimlessly wasting my time.  To these ends, when Knights Of Pen And Paper +1 went on sale on Steam, I snapped it up and dumped about 6 hours into it.  What fun!
This game is an example of brilliance in simplicity.  At its heart, it's just the RPG grind broken down to its simplest elements:
Combat plays out in a turn-based affair where every player character and enemy NPC takes a turn to perform an attack, use a special magical attack, use a potion, flee, whatever.  It's a formula that Final Fantasy popularized decades ago.Because you're also playing the "Game Master's" role for your players, you decide what the party of adventurers is going to encounter at any time.  To these ends, you can put together an encounter of 1-7 monsters at any time.  You're essentially just feeding your party of players experience and gold for their amusement.There's a rud…

What I'm Actually Doing This Fall '13 Vacation

So much for my best laid plans, which certainly looked good on paper, but fate's plans take priority.

The first thing I did at the start of my vacation is waste a lot of money on a monitor and a video card which, to be honest, have done very little overall:
My GeForce GTS 450 ran every game I tried to play at an acceptable frame rate.  (Except for Planetside 2, but that's not changing, because it's more CPU bottlenecked.)  My GeForce 650 Ti Boost runs games at a very acceptable frame rate.  I guess if playing Skyrim as smooth as butter was my goal, my wish has been granted... but playing Skyrim is still just playing Skyrim.My Viewsonic VX2268WM was capable of decent, if overly dark, 3D with flickering shutter glasses.  My new Ancor Communications Asus VG23AH is capable of pretty good 3D with polarized movie-style glasses.  Oddly enough, NVDIA has not green-lit the VG23AH for being 3D capable, even though it is.  The solution was to lie to Windows that the monitor was actua…

A Day Late And A Dollar Short

A few years ago, I was working on a project that would be a bit like Dwarf Fortress but with an interplanetary exploration theme.  Then whatever strange fugue affects my game development hit me, and it ended up on indefinite haitus.  Fast forward to today, and... RimWorld is happening.
It seems somebody else had the same idea, but better motivation to actually see it done.  They even thought of the virtual game master mechanic.  Granted, I suppose the Left4Dead director popularized that idea somewhat, anyway.

Well, good.  I wanted to play it eventually, I'm glad somebody is getting around to it.  The implementation looks rather nice, too.  Who knows?  Probably better than I would have pulled off in the magical fantasy land where I was capable of being anything but an utter failure.

Moving on to the "dollar short aspect" of this blog entry, I blew half of my biggest paycheck I will get all year in the past couple days.  $100 went to medical bills.  I've paid Kaiser Pe…

What I'm Doing For My Fall '13 Vacation

I'm about to have a good deal of time off to myself that is not shirking my professional obligations.  That being the case, powers that be willing, I've a few select activities lined up for the upcoming week:

Animal Crossing: New Leaf:
I'm still logging the occasional hour or so a day in this game, but the "new game charm" is not really there anymore.  It's just a habit, like brushing one's teeth.  Maybe gambling, considering every new day brings with it another chance to find some new furniture.  I still have quite a bit of house expanding to do...

I should probably put some serious consideration towards canceling my GameFly subscription, as the only reason I have it is for my Nintendo 3DS, and this platform is practically only an Animal Crossing machine in terms of what I ever make the time to do on it.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn:

I've now reached the point where I'm starting to get into the crafting system of this game, and it's more …

The Real Target Demo For PC Games

If you've been into PC gaming much, you've probably heard the cry of how those "bloody casuals" ruined everything, but I think I've isolated a more specific complaint, and it's this: games need to be nerdier.
Lets take a look at the most popular games on the PC right now:
Minecraft - I would say that Minecraft's primary lease to success is a massive community so nerdy that neither poor mod support nor the Java platform this game was created in was sufficient to prevent a small number of them from making nerdy mods for it (e.g. performing computer programming in-game or build extravagant devices).DOTA 2 - A remake of what was originally a mod built for Warcraft III, whose anal-retentive detail to balancing item builds on champions should clarify that this was clearly a game made by nerds, for nerds.Team Fortress 2 - Arguably the penultimate example of the nerdy pursuit of playing 3D arena shooters.  How did they keep interest going in this game for so long…

Not A Realm Reborn, But A Great Showing

I'm beginning to think my issues with motivation might be related to browsing the Internet, at all, and not just forums.  So I stopped browsing, and what do you suppose happened?  Did I finally get immersed in independent game development?   No, I ended up playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn for two and a half solid days.   I suppose I might as well jot down what I learned about the game in that time.
This is definitely an MMORPG in the classic style, and consequently FFXIV:RR has the same overall problem that classic style MMORPGs have always had: you kill monsters, in order to gain levels and gear, in order to kill more monsters.  Eventually, you run out of levels and epic gear, and then you're stuck twiddling your thumbs until the developers add more content.  Does this sound like a gainful long-term pursuit to you?  It really isn't, it's an unabashed Skinner's box, and there's no gold at the end of the treadmill... but if you just want to keep yoursel…

Putting The Bureau Away

My game development efforts remain stymied and, with them, my sense of self-validation.  Two days off may not have been enough, as I'm still not back to my jovial old self: a fellow who was only too happy to be working considering the alternative was moping around the house waiting for his support structures to drop out beneath him. I might be quite polite at work, but I'm feeling a bit surly right now.  I think it may be wise to keep my hours scaled back until I either find an acceptable home:work balance or build a better understanding of how to juggle so many needs.
I was up until 10pm last night finishing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, just as I thought I would.  I am honestly not sure what Jim Sterling was complaining about: the Bureau was fine.  For the most part, it's a game with a great combat mechanic that not only imitates Mass Effect, but improves upon it considerably.  Sure, your NPC partners need to be babysat, but they're babysitting you, too: it's a …