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Nothing Can Withstand My Fixed Vignettes

In terms of what happened this week, I can't say it was much:
  • Elite: Dangerous - Working towards an Anaconda via mining with a Python.  I can manage about 2.5M/hr.  I can find about an hour a day for that if I try.  I need at least 100M more for the Anaconda.  The math doesn't look like I'll be getting that Anaconda soon, but I honestly have no idea what I'll do with it when I do get it.  In fact, I'm considering saving up an additional 100M and just keeping the Python, since it's such a reliable do-anything workhorse.
  • Tom Clancy's The Division - Level 25 now, played socially with a friend.  Of course, our schedules don't always match up, so I got a bit of solo play in in order to catch up.  Consuming the content of such an intricately realized New York at such a rapid rate seems a tad callous... oh, never mind, once you hit 30 you basically just tread the same area again.  4-5 times.  Guess I don't have to worry about completion before 30, then.
  • Divinity: Original Sin - Barely made any progress in this game this week since I had other things to play, but I do intend to finish it if I can.  It's the best offshoot to come out of Baldur's Gate, and the sequel nears completion... probably.
Then along comes Earth Defense Force (4.1) and I wonder where it's been all my life.
Glorious little game, really.  It's a bit like Dynasty Warriors, with the sheer mass of enemies coming at your overpowered hero unit, but at the same time it's nothing like that series because the goal is just to kill everything and the enemies are giant insects, alien death machines, and UFOs.

Meanwhile, corny comedy left and right, with overblown bad engrish phrases.  "My bullets are stuck!"  "If you want to go home, we must win!"  B-movie stuff, well delivered to be deliberately off, and it never ends.   The highlight being the chanting or dancing soldiers on the field.
The gameplay in itself is in on the joke, with each of the four classes being exaggerations.  
  • The Ranger is a basic grunt who "trained until his body is as hard as steel" and can roll-dive through fences, demolishing them, while carrying two weapons that range from the conventional (an assault rifle) to the bizarre (a missile that travels at a turtle's pace).  
  • The Air Raider trades the Ranger's weapons for the ability to call in air drops, including massive artillery strikes and battle vehicles.  Most of the best Air Raider abilities are locked behind a "credit" system which is earned from kills.
  • The Wing Diver is a technological valkyrie, wearing a flying suit and typically wielding laser and plasma weapons.  The most mobile unit, but also the least armored.
  • The Fencer wears heavy power armor that can be outfit with weapons that belong on vehicles or giant melee weapons and shields.   They mount 4 weapons, 2 per arm, whereas the others can only choose 2.   Fencers' tremendous weight leaves them a bit ponderous on their feet, perpetually fighting recoil.  
All are wonderful foils for the endless alien threat, as the enemy is unrelenting and many of the more powerful weapons carry tremendous down sides.
Nary does awe and laughter come together so flawlessly.  At times, huge undulating waves of unbeatable enemies bear down on you, so you unleash some kind of superweapon that sends spiralling a huge explosion of insect parts (and incidentally demolishes a quaint neighborhood).   

Then a few stragglers dive through the smoke and pick you up in their insectoid maws, flinging your ragdolling body around while you try to get a shot off to break free.  As you pick yourself up off the ground, enemies defeated, several friendly soldiers start a conversation about a chicken dinner or chant, "EDF!"
In a word: fun.  A type of fun we often miss in shooting for higher profile kinds of fun.  Serious Sam kinds of fun.  Just swarms of enemies and over the top weaponry.  I doubt the four classes are particularly balanced, but that's alright, it's not player versus player, but rather player versus environment.

About the worst thing I could say about the game is that it has quite a bit of hitching on my desktop computer, unless I turn my NVIDIA settings to "performance" mode.  I do not need to do this on my newer Intel-based laptop, and so I think this may have something to do with an incompatibility with AMD CPUs.

I have also seen complaints from some players that you have to grind (replaying missions on higher difficulty) to unlock the game's literally hundreds of weapons in order to have enough firepower to beat later missions.  Hey, as long as you are having fun grinding, who cares about that?

Also, no widescreen support, but I found this fix on the Steam forums, copied here in case that thread gets taken down:
Did some quick fiddling around with a hex editing the exe and if im not mistaken the stretching issue seems to be fixed by changing the value 39 8E E3 3F to a value that matches your aspect ratio. Such as 3440x1440 = 8E E3 18 40 / 2560x1080 = 26 B4 17 40.
Wow, actual hex editing.  I'm kinda surprised anyone does that in this day and age.
But it got results, and the UI seems to scale well, and it does add to the horizontal plane.  Odd bit of letterboxing on the top and bottom, and the textures seem a bit more washed out, but I like the ultra-wide hack overall.

For me, the new game buzz has yet to wear off for Earth Defense Force.   Oddly enough, there's hardly anyone playing it on Twitch!  Well, this is a mid-2016 release of a remake of a 2014 game, so I guess it is sort of hard to stay excited about playing the same game for 2 years long... but it's still new to me!

As for my indie development, it has slowed to a crawl, not abandoned, but a damn sight slower than it should be.  I honestly need a whole day off from babysitting kids before I can get my head together enough to do any of the serious concentration required for indy development, and between that and my social obligation to play The Division there hasn't been a real big window of opportunity this week.  Plus, the holidays.  Ugh!  Still that game isn't going to make itself, so I am undergoing an initiative to rekindle my habits in that direction.


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