Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lotro Notes

Despite my commitment to limit my objectives in Lotro I have been playing quite a lot over the last few days. No raiding but a couple of kinship forays into Annuminas combined with a lot of questing in Forochel. I have grown to like Forochel. At first glance its snowy appearance is reminiscent of the Misty Mountains but whereas Misty is a dangerous barren wasteland Forochel teems with settlements and quests and even has a few instances to boot. In point of fact it comes pretty close to Bree land in terms of the amout of stuff that is going on. Most of the quests are solo friendly but there a reasonable number of group quests with decent rewards for someone of mid 40's level. At level 50 Throg has outgrown most of the rewards on offer but it is still a very enjoyable zone to quest in.

A lot of my fellow bloggers have abandoned Lotro (although Khan and Thallian always put in a good word) so I was pleased to stumble across a good lotro blog I hadn't read before: MMeow . After reading a guide from from MMeow about Lotro's equipment rarity I realise that I am wrong to call typical raid quality "teal" items epics. The official description of teal items is "incomparable" while the term epic is reserved for a very small number of rare drops that are coloured orange.

Lotro Europe's welcome back weekend starts tomorrow with free play for returning players and a 25% XP bonus. With War still in its honeymoon period and a major update of WOW around the corner Lotro is going to have a tough job enticing folks back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lotro: Forochel Questing

Yesterday being a bank holiday here in Ireland I had plenty of time to do some questing around the Forochel area. All the quests seem to give reputation rewards with either Thorin's Hall or the Lossoth Eskimo's who live in this frozen land. Throg is a dwarf so my Thorin's hall rep is already pretty good but Lossoth rep is useful not least because it opens up a number of quick travel routes around the freezing waters. Sadly I probably won't get the friend status required until after I have completed most of the quests in the region.

I got as far as book 13 Chapter 6 with the aid of some kinsmates and a couple of others. We had to retrieve a book from the dourhand controlled icereave mine. Ice-reave is very reminiscent of Sarnur the Thorin's hall rep dungeon in Ered Luin. The mobs also drop the dourhand tabards but seem a little easier than in Sarnur so I could imagine this being the preferred new zone for grinding Thorin's Hall rep.

We did a few more quests in the same group - earning an epic hammer reward for killing Arnoth the Exacting in Icereave. In truth the hammer is not all that Epic but it's Beleriand Damage type is not very common and may come in useful for mobs who have special resistances.

I got a second epic unexpectedly when a kinsmate appeared literally out of nowhere as we were entering icerave and gave me a dragonscale breastplate. How is that for a welcome back present after six months of not playing? I am very lucky to have found such a helpful, casual friendly kinship.

Near-raid quality crafted items can be bought on the auction house and prices seem to have fallen in anticipation of the impact of Mines of Moria. I'll probably buy a few bits and pieces but I don't actually feel that badly off gear-wise. My virtue traits are another story. My currently equipped virtues stop at levels six, seven or eight but I notice that while I was away the ceiling on most virtues seems to have gone up to nine or ten. A fully upgraded virtue is probably equivalent to a piece of epic armour so they are worth having but I have come to realise that earning virtues is the real grind of lotro. To get a virtue to level 10 requires thousands of mobs to be slaughtered. If I get bored of questing that's where I will have to focus my attention I reckon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jumbled Thoughts On Re-subscribing to an MMO

My first session in Lotro after resubscribing reminded me of many of the things I don't like about mmos. I spend most of the time travelling to the far North of Forochel in order to continue the epic quest line with book 13. At the same time I was trying to refresh my memory of what all the skills in my bar do along with the significance of various trait and gear selections. It was all somewhat tedious and at the same time left me feeling a bit inadequate knowing that I have probably fallen far behind my kinship buddies who have been raiding regularly since I left.

Things perked up a bit when I finally got stuck into a few quests. The server seems quite a bit quieter than it used to be but there were still a few calls for assistance in the "looking for a Fellowship" channel. I have always considered pick up groups to be one of the strong points of Lotro so I joined one to help a lower level player overcome a quest mob.

Grouping is a bit of a dilemma for me. Without a doubt the opportunity to play together with other people is the best thing about mmos. Yet this is the one element I find hardest to reconcile with the rest of my life. It is not the so much the time involved as the exclusivity required when you are playing with others. A single player game can be saved or put on hold whenever real life demands attention. A game involving other people cannot be paused so easily.

Exclusivity is a problem in another sense. Since quitting EVE at the end of August I have been enjoying quite a number of single player games: Two Worlds, Rainbow Six Vegas, Sacrifice, XIII, Crysis Warhead, Praetorians and Spore. If I get sucked back in to an mmo I just won't have time for such a varied gaming experience. I know some folk manage to juggle various mmos but I have never managed it. I tend to find an mmo not only consumes all my gaming time but can intrude on other areas of my life as well. Sometimes I think I spend as much time browsing fan sites as playing.

How to proceed? I am going to try and rejoin the game in a limited way. A big part of this involves saying no to stuff. No I don't need to do every quest from this zone. No I don't need to get a perfect set of traits. No I don't need to complete my raid armour set. Instead I will set a few achievable objectives and pursue those. Completing the book quests seems like a good start.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A book reccommendation

I seem to be carrying the flag for my home town today but coincidentally I have just finished "The Inferior" by Peadar O Guilin another Dubliner. I may have been somewhat biased in my recent recommendation of WAR but I need no such incentive to heartily reccommend "The Inferior". It is a great piece of Science Fiction. Thoroughly entertaining.

What I meant to say was : WAR is Brilliant Buy it Now.

I have just become aware that GOA the European publishers of Warhammer Online are establishing a major support centre in my home town (Dublin) with the promise of 400 jobs. I guess that customer support is at the bottom of the food chain (why is that?) but in these recessionary times a job is a job and those 400 new taxpayers will help share the burden. Therefore with extreme prejudice I would like to point out that Warhammer online is the best game since tiddly winks and I would like you all to go out and buy it. Just be sure to buy the Euro version, even if you live in the U.S. Think of the added educational benefit of being able to converse in all those different languages (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish according to this page).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lotro Once More

I reactivated my Lotro subscription with a view to completing my outstanding book quests in preparation for the forthcoming release of Mines of Moria. Going back to an MMO is a funny experience, a bit like moving back in with your parents after living on your own. On the one hand there is a warm comfortable feeling of home but there are also memories of the boredom that inspired you to move on.

Lotro is pretty quiet these days. I wonder will many return for MoM.

Here's a picture of Throg in snowy Forochel:

I'm Not Giving up Blogging

Thanks to the Ancient Gaming Noob for drawing my attention to a recent Wired article in which Paul Boutin claims that blogging is a thing of the past.

Of course I don't agree but I do accept some of Paul's points. I agree that the time when you could "become famous" through blogging is probably over. If that is your motivation then you should probably pass over blogging and get with the next big thing be it twitter or face book or more likely something else that most of us haven't even heard of yet.

On the other hand there are many other reasons to keep a blog. It can be a personal creative outlet. It can be your very own soap box. You can use it as a kind of online diary. It can add a new dimension to your hobbies. It can be a social thing. You may be even be lucky enough to find a community of like minded bloggers.

Telling people to stop blogging because they have no chance of getting to the front page of Google is like telling amateur musicians not to bother because they have no chance of getting to Carnegie Hall.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is Warhammer Online History?

Two well known bloggers Tobold and Melmoth announced their departure from Warhammer Online this week. Is this the beginning of the games decline or is it just natural turnover? I don't know. Other bloggers such as Syncaine, Keen and Saylah are still waxing lyrical about WAR, pointing out that this game seems to have really innovated in terms of making group play both fun and rewarding.

Not only do I not know but I must admit to being completely unqualified to express an opinion. I have never played WAR and I am currently going through an "anti-mmo" phase as indicated in my series of posts with the tag line "mmos are history". However, being unqualified to give an opinion doesn't sop me from having one, so, for what it is worth, here it is:

  • I think that the time of explosive market growth for WOW / Everquest style mmo's is pretty much over (in the developed world at any rate). Future subscription growth rate will be low or even negative.

  • I think that end of the growth phase means that existing games and new entrants must now cannibalise each other for a slice of what is effectively a fixed pie.

  • I think that the utter dominance of WOW in the mainstream mmo market makes it almost impossible for a new entrant to gain significant market share and even harder for them to hold on to that market share. Niche market mmos (EVE / ATID) may still thrive as long as they don't compete head to head with WOW and as long as they remain small enough to stay under the radar.

  • I think anyone who is currently developing a WOW / Everquest style mmo has already missed the boat and stands to lose their investment.

  • I think that the best bet for a new player trying to enter the market is to somehow try and change the rules of the (mmo business) game.

How can the rules of the game be changed?

  1. A Console based MMO - Consoles have firmly supplanted PCS as the platform of choice for gaming so its stands to reason that mmos on consoles will have a much bigger market than PC mmos, right? I am not so sure. It seems to me that the whole "play where you like play when you like" ethos of console gaming is completely at odds with the pee in a bucket level of commitment required for WOW/Everquest style mmos. DM Osbon is running a poll in which he asks which platform people see as being the future of mmos. Of coure the survey is is biased because you need to be on a PC to take it but PCs are whopping ass in the results.

  2. Casual / Browser based mmos. Maybe. I don't mean grind fest, pay money for in game items, browser based mmos. In terms of time commitment required these are anything but casual. The kids mmos like Club Penguin or Buildabearville come closer to the mark. Put one of those onto a console and you might be onto a winner.

  3. An mmo which makes less demands of its customers. WOW / Everquest style mmos demand huge amounts of time and significant amounts of money from their players. I think a new type of game which offered similar entertainment and escapism in a similar social environment at a lower personal cost could put WOW / Everquest style mmos out of business.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

MBP's instant book reviews get their own blog.

My instant book review sidebar was threatening to grow off the page so I have shifted the whole lot sideways to a new blog called

There should be a feed in the sidebar which will take you there.

I like the idea of using multiple blogs to organise stuff. If this works out I may well spawn a new "instant game reviews" daughter blog.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crysis Warhead and XIII, a tale of two shooters.

Played and finished Crysis Warhead last weekend and am currently playing XIII, a game I have had for years but never got around to playing.

Warhead is a pretty decent follow up to Crysis. The action runs concurrently with the first game and the two episodes mesh together pretty well. As has been noted by many commentators the graphics been optimised and the game is far less of a system hog than its precursor. While the game has much to recommend it I have to admit I found myself getting a little bored. I think that an unfortunate combination of factors combine to remove much of the challenge. You are equipped with an uber suit that unbalances the game. While some enemies are equipped with similar gear they all neglect to wear headgear leaving them vulnerable to a single headshot. Headshots are very easy to get because the suit offers invisibility mode giving you plenty of time to line up the crosshairs. Virtually every encounter in the game can be easily overcome using invisibility to pick off enemies one by one, hiding behind cover between hits to wait for your energy to recharge. Sadly the npc AI seems completely unable to deal with these tactics. The end result is that once you figure out the tactics the game is just too easy (and I played on hard setting). I guess Crysis had similar issues but I was less experienced in the use of the suit then.

After finishing Warhead I went to my shelf of unplayed games and came across Dargaud's 2003 game XIII. I am happy to report that the game's cell shaded graphics have not dated and the cartoon effect is still very appealing.The game has a strong story line, based as it is on a real comic book series. In complete contrast to Warhead I found the game to be b*stard hard. Even grunt level enemies could survive a full clip from my assault rifle but were able to kill me with a single burst.To make matters worse you cannot save apart from checkpoints which led led to my repeatedly trying the same levels over and over again. Not fun. Did I mention that for some bizarre reason the game doesn't automatically save the latest checkpoint when you quit? I lost several played levels before I realised that you need to manually save each checkpoint. Grrrrrr. Beautiful and all though the game is I was on the point of abandoning it when I discovered that somehow I had selected the hardest "XXX" difficulty level. I actually managed to struggle through about a third of the game on this setting. If I ever finish it it will be on "normal" difficulty though and let me re-affirm that I really don't like checkpoint save systems. Life is too short to play the same level over and over again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Upgrading a Motherboard on Windows XP

Although my wife is not a gamer she is into video and photography both of which put strains on her desktop PC. The machine has a plethora of hardware hanging off it (scanners, video capture, additional hard disks etc) and has literally dozens of specialised pieces of software installed. It is amazing that the 2002 vintage machine was able to function as well as it did but for some time now I have had the guilty realisation that it is long overdue an upgrade.

With hardware prices at an all time low (in euro-zone anyway) the sensible course of action might have been to just replace the whole lot with a brand new machine. Quite apart from the cost however there was the unpleasant prospect of having to reinstall all that additional harware and software. Instead I opted for a motherboard upgrade.

Out of pocket cost was minimal - a remaindered socket 939 motherboard (€15) and 2GB DDR ram (€55). I already had a spare Power supply, 7600gt graphics and Athlon 64 processor, relics of a previous upgrades of my own gaming machine. Certainly not state of the art but a substantial upgrades none the less, sufficient to bring the machine up to 2006 performance levels.

While the cash costs were minimal the time investment was not. Overall the upgrade took me me about six hours broken down as follows:

1hour: Gathering all the stuff and downloading required drivers. Motherboard and graphics card drivers were easy enough to get from the manufacturers' websites. I copied them to the hard disk of the machine to be upgraded before starting just in case I had difficulties getting an internet connection up and running. It is also very important to ensure you have the original product key for windows XP before proceeding as the repair install asks for it.

1 hour: Slipstreaming a Windows XP Home SP3 disk. My original Windows XP home disk is the plain vanilla version prior to any service packs. I have previously had difficulties trying to repair a patched version of XP with the original disks so I decided to get the latest version first. Given that Windows has "phone home" copy protection you might think that Microsoft would be happy to distribute the disks free of charge but no. The only way legitimately get an upgraded install disk is to go through a complex process called "Slip Streaming" which effectively upgrades the install disk you already have. The process is completely counterintuitive so follow a guide if ever you want to do it. I followed Christopher Heng's guide from here and it worked.

1 hour: Installing the new hardware. I have done this many times by now but I still prefer the slow cautious approach to hardware installation. A mistake here can cause irreparable damage. I start with the bare minimum - processor, memory, motherboard, graphics card and keyboard and then add other bits once I am sure everything works.

1 hour: Doing a repair install of Windows XP with my newly made SP3 disk. Changing the motherboard upset XP and it refused to boot. The repair install fixes windows but does not delete any files folders or installed programs. There are a few pitfalls involved in doing a repair install. At the first menu it asks you to hit R in order to repair XP using the recovery console. Do not select this instead hit enter to proceed to Setup. At the second menu do hit R to commencce a reapair install. DO NOT HIT ESCAPE or it will begin a clean install wiping all your files and programs. The process is described here with pictures.

2 hours: Installing drivers for new hardware (motherboard, lan, graphics, sound) and generally checking everything out. I needed to re-activate XP but that worked fine once I had a working internet connection.

Bingo - one fully upgraded machine with all existing hardware and software working as expected. ( I did forget one small thing. Microsoft office took umbridge at the harware upgrade and complained when my wife tried to use it. It simply needed to be re-activated but for some reason the on line activation didn't work).

You might complain that I could have bought a brand new computer with six hours worth of professional earnings. I would still have had to re-install all of my wife's special hardware and software though (I am the in house computer maintenance guy). In any case It was an enjoyable outing for the hacker inside.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An MMO based on Sacrifice???

In his blog today Tobold proposes an mmo where each player has a unique individual epic quest line. You could still group up and recruit friends to share your adventures but you wouldn't all be striving to kill the same ten rats over and over again. As Tobold says this "will allow grander stories, being more interesting to the player because they involve him much more." In other words we can finally have a proper "heroes journey" in an mmo. I think this is a great proposal.

Consider Tobold's proposal and read my recent comment about Sacrifice:There are five main paths to the end goal one offered by each of five Gods. Each God offers a sequence of nine missions leading to a common tenth "final mission". Each God has their own style and rewards the player with unique powers and creatures for taking their missions. The really clever bit is that you can mix and match missions for different Gods leading to a wide range of different paths through the game and resulting character builds. Some combinations are prohibited because a God you have fought against too often will refuse to offer you a new mission. The number of permutations is still large. Amazingly the game manages to tell a clever story which hangs together despite the random selection of paths to get to the end.

Putting the two together I think it might be possible to use a variant of Sacrifices multi-path system in a massively multiplayer format. The power of combinatorials gives a very wide range of unique quest paths from a finite number of quests. It would be particularly interesting to implement Sacrifice's skill model where the skills you end up with depend on the path you take through the game. Of course end game focussed players and min-maxers would soon figure out the paths which give the best build for healing or tanking or whatever but I imagine many other players would be happy to enjoy the journey.

PS. Yes I know mmos are history and I know it is pointless talking about them but this isn't an old style mmo its a proposal for a new style mmo so its all right to talk about, so there!


I finished Sacrifice again last night. What a terrific game. It is the first time I did a full run through supporting the evil god Charnel. Charnel has some great spells ( I think his wailing wall is the best barrier spell in the game) but his creatures are a bit weak. A lot of them do damage over time which is not as useful as direct damage in the fast and furious combat that characterises much of the game.

Sacrifice is one of my favourite games ever but I will admit that the single player gameplay is not perfect. Npc opponents have poor artifical intelligence and employ the same strategy throughout the game. The game seems impossibly difficult at first but once you figure out a winning strategy you can keep using it.The game can still be challenging though because of the large resource imbalance between you and your opponents at the start of each level.

The gameplay may be flawed it doesn't matter. It is still great fun and the game oozes creativity and originality. Even by today's standards it looks and sounds beautiful. When you complete the game you are rewarded with a highly entertaining credits sequence which reeks of the loving care that the creators put in.

Sacrifice offers replayability in a clever way. There are five main paths to the end goal one offered by each of five Gods. Each God offers a sequence of nine missions leading to a common tenth "final mission". Each God has their own style and rewards the player with unique powers and creatures for taking their missions. The really clever bit is that you can mix and match missions for different Gods leading to a wide range of different paths through the game and resulting character builds. Some combinations are prohibited because a God you have fought against too often will refuse to offer you a new mission. The number of permutations is still large. Amazingly the game manages to tell a clever story which hangs together despite the random selection of paths to get to the end.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Remember RPGDot: Thought's about Internet Permanence

RPGDot's massive archive of news, reviews, guides and forums was "the place" to go for computer rpg information back in the days of Morrowind and Gothic. I was dismayed therefore to discover that the site and its daughter sites closed down completely earlier this year.

Like many others I have more or less abandoned any effort to keep private copies of information, trusting instead that I can get the information I need when I need it from the internet. My precious book collection was a long time hold-out but even that has become disposable. The closure of a well loved site is a jarring reminder of how impermanent the internet really is. Is it time to panic? Should I go looking for my books back?

Of course I am not the only one who worries about the loss of digital information. The following article by Susan K. Soy of Univertisty of Texas asks "Will Permanence Exist in the Digital Age". Susan's article led me to the Internet Archive, a project which attempts to preserve historical web pages and make them avalaible through its Way Back Machine. Laudible though this goal may be it sounds a bit like trying to save the ocean in a bucket. Putting it to the test I did find copies of that were archived over the years but only the front page appears to have been preserved. All the juicy sub-pages with their precious information seem to be lost forever.

It is not all bad news however. Much of the information from RPGdot is scattered over other game related sites and may be tracked down using the power of Google. The community which ran RPGDot have moved on to a new site called rpgwatch which may grow over time to fill the gap left by the demise of its fore-runner. Some stuff has been lost forever though including the irreplaceable forum archive without which I would probably never have managed to finish Arx Fatalis.

What is the rational response to the realisation that we are now totally dependent on the internet but the internet itself is not as permanent as the media it has displaced? Should we opt for paranoia, keeping backed up private copies of all the information we use or should we fully embrace the new information age in all its transience knowing that anything which is lost is likely to be replaced and even improved upon many times over?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Eve exit survey

I have just completed my EVE online exit survey (I didn't bother to renew my subscription when it ran out). I can't remember most of the questions, it was pretty standard stuff. Who you are , how long your have been playing, what you mainly did in game and what aer you reasons for leaving. I was a bit worried that the "reasons for leaving" questions were a bit unbalanced. For example it offered the choice of "too hardcore" but didn't offer the balancing choice of "too softcore" I amn't a statistician but it looks to me that that will distort your stats right away.

Anyway that isn't what I am writing about. I am writing about a revelation that struck me while I was filling in the "any other comments" box at the end of the survey. I realised that the reason I quit EVE was because after six months I was getting bored and wanted to play other games. My revelation was that this is perfectly normal, acceptable behaviour but that mmo developers don't particularly cater for folks like me because they are focussed on getting a player hooked for the long run. I wonder if they might sell more games if their games contained realsiable goals that could be achieved within a few months allowing players who feel like me to move on with a feeling of accomplishment.

In a recent Tobold Open Sunday Thread there was a bit of discussion about MMO's having an ending with commenters expressing opinions for and against the opinion. While I think it is a good idea I hit a block when I tried to figure out how game companies could preserve their revenues in such a game. Maybe the game doesn't have to end - just have some clearly signalled realisable goals that can be accomplished in a short time span allowing every player to leave with a feeling of acomplishment.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Mount and Blade a Second Opinion

An anonymous commenter just posted a very positive review of Mount and Blade in the comments to my earlier post. They point out that once you struggle through the unhelpful starting phase Mount and Blade really is a terrific game. In order to balance my somewhat negative review I am bumping that comment up to the front page by copying it here in full:

Review of Mount & Blade v.1.003:

Overall, I really enjoy this game. In fact, I've shelved Guild Wars and Titan Quest since I began playing this game again.

Let's get the negative aspect taken care of first. This game really needed a better Tutorial. Although there is one which teaches you different techniques such as blocking, archery, melee [single, 2-handed] combat, the tutorial lacks giving the player guidance as to where to start.

After plodding through various villages and garrisons [towns] and castles, I was able to figure out my options.
Once I understood gameplay dynamics such as the various components affecting 'Party Morale', I was able to feel more at ease. Perhaps the retail hardcopy version in stores include a decent Instruction manual. Yet, as of v.1.003, this game does not lend any in-game assistance for new players. This was a big strike against the game.

Yet, muster through this initial confusion and you will find a very rewarding medieval simulator with beautiful sounds,visuals and a well thought out 'Character' screen where every single point spent on an 'attribute','skill' or 'proficiency' has a very real effect on your characters advancement.
For example, archery. Initially I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if I tried because my 'Archery' proficiency was very low. Over the course of leveling up, I discovered that my aiming became much more accurate due to investing points into 'Power Draw','Horse Archery'[Skills] and 'Archery'[Proficiency].
Simply by using a weapon, you will become Proficient in the use of that weapon over time as well.

Game dynamics as follows: You begin as a Mercenary with 1 of the 5 Factions. Eventually you may wish to chose a Faction and help them defeat the others. By choosing a Faction, you are eventually rewarded a village and castle, both of which you should protect from invaders.

From tournament battles to castle sieges, from trading goods to upgrading equipment. This game has it all. I especially enjoy the real feel of the horse you ride and the clash of swords hitting each other. Or the sound of a 2-handed axe smashing through a shield. Better yet, rushing forward on your horse while holding your shield up, just in time to hear 4 arrows thunk into the shield. get the point. I'm having a blast with it. It's one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Defining Moments in Video Gaming

Inspired by Tom Chick's list of 10 defining moments in video gaming DM Osbon gives us an isight into his own gaming past. While Tom's piece is a generic list of great video game moments DM gives a more personal view and it is in this spirit that I will offer my own contribution.

For me a watershed gaming moment came during the point and click era of the late 1980's. The first point and click I came across was the mildly risque "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards". I was used to mindlessly repetitive button pressing games so the the depth and complexity of this game was a revelation to me. Not having my own PC I stayed late in work one Friday to play Larry on an office computer. When the first rays of dawn sunshine peeped through the window I was still sitting there finishing the game. It was my first gaming all-nighter. Until that moment I hadn't realised how compelling this new medium could be. It was as if I had had a vision of the future. Most of my adult friends at the time were completely unaware of this new phenomenon and would have thought me completely mad to stay up all night playing games but after that moment I knew that I wanted to do more of it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Revisiting one of my all time favourite games.

A bout of nostalgia hit me last night and I reinstalled Sacrifice. I love this game and have played through the single player campaign (through various routes) many times. I am happy to report that it installed without a hitch on Windows XP.

This is such a beautiful game. It is so obviously both a work of art and a labour of love. The graphics and sound effects stand up even today and the sheer cleverness and imagination of the game is breathtaking.

I realise that the game failed to achieve commercial success and I know why. The game play falls between two stools being too fast and furious for hard core RTS players at the same time too difficult for the mass market. It is particularly intimidating when starting off and the new player is immediately overwhelmed by the AI oppostion. Nevertheless the game can suck you in if you only struggle through those first few levels.

If you have never tried this awesome piece of gaming history then I strongly recommend you to check it out. It has long been available on budget re-release.

Now Masochists can Play Games too

Thank you Massively for drawing our attention to the 3D Space FPS vest which actually INFLICTS PAIN ON YOU when you get hit. Check out the video of the guy getting shot in-game. Hilarious. A future candidate for a Darwin award if I am not mistaken.

Of course this version only simulates physical damage. The mmo version would really need to mimic magical damage too. A decent electric shock should do the job I would think.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I am Teh Uber

A fine example of the stand beside a health regeneration shrine school of Two Worlds fighting. That's me fighting a small army of Groms. They lost.

Apparently I have a coffee problem

 A couple of weeks ago my wife alerted me to the fact that I had developed an occasional odour problem. This surprised and distressed me som...