Gaming fleeting thoughts

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:30 pm UTC

Clever girl:

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TERRIBLE muzzle discipline, but handy bit of blocking.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:32 pm UTC

There probably ought to be a better way to handle "horde tries to climb ladder" than that, really. The game does have a variable for each weapon for the range within which the infected don't count as layers i.e. don't reduce the damage it does to the next one in line, so in that situation that's a point-blank shot into each of their heads first. Serves them all right for being superpositioned on the ladder, I suppose.

There are other places where their ability to overlap is a problem. Because it means they can swarm you very densely and very close, the guns check for hits from the back of the weapon, behind the camera position, meaning you can hit a team-mate who's actually behind you and completely off-screen. Maybe it should check for infected from the back of the gun but only check for team-mates from the muzzle forwards. Either way, shotgun pellets shouldn't start to spread out until they're at least a metre from the muzzle. By default, one metre from the muzzle they're spread 102 to 170mm vertically and 170 to 289mm horizontally. Elliptical barrels, anyone?

I also think the infected should count as more than one layer, because there's no way going through a Charger should take the same amount of energy out of your bullet as going through an interior door or wall, and as they're meant to be sick not undead a shot to the core vital organs and major blood vessels ought to be more significant than one to the foot or hand. The Tank could have a "skin" layer that counts in terms of taking energy out of the bullets but not in terms of damage done to his health, so low-penetration weapons would waste most of their power on his leathery hide. 7.62x51mm bullets and shotgun slugs, of course, would get through to his vital organs pretty easily.

If they want realism, bullets, especially pistol and smg bullets, should cause bleeding rather than immediately removing a lump of hit points, and the infected should slow down as they bleed out, not carry on at full speed and power until you hit them again then instantly drop dead. Insta-drop is for upper spinal column, central nervous system and carotid artery hits.

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Most of that should have stayed inside him and then leaked out through the front after he fell down.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:01 am UTC

I've been playing Black Mesa recently, because of the Tipping Point (and because I just wanted to) And I noticed something about Apprehension and Residue Processing that I hadn't really thought about before, despite that section being one of the more memorable parts of Half Life for me.

In Apprehension, you are presented with a few rooms that seem extremely video-gamey, but actually have more straight forward solutions. For example, there's a room where the obvious exit has a sparking wire hanging over it, which always makes me think I have to either time the sparks to make it through or find a way to shut down power to the wire, but there's no timing the wire and no way to shut it off, you just have to crouch jump through the hole next to the obvious exit. There's also piston crusher puzzle you can just bypass by stacking crates. Up until this point, the only really video-gamey portions have been a few jumping puzzles, so this section could easily be read as the developers kind of poking fun at tropey/video-gamey puzzles.

And then the next section, Residue Processing, is just a non-stop series of video-gamey timing puzzles on conveyor belts with crushers and laser tripwire mines and all that stuff, completely reversing on the subversion from the previous section.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby New User » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:44 am UTC

So, has Half-Life reached its half-life?

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:54 am UTC

New User wrote:So, has Half-Life reached its half-life?


Only half of half-life lives...
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Felstaff » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:01 pm UTC

Did the Steam version of Black Mesa come with the uncut Surface Tension part? I downloaded the mod a few weeks after Black Mesa came out (and was still free), but when I tried adding the missing Surface Tension maps, it messed with my saves so I never managed to play it. Now I have (had) it on Steam (for, like, a year now), I've just reached the Surface Tension chapter, but I can't remember what section(s) was/were cut out from Half-Life in the first place, so I can't get self-righteously huffy should I find it has still been left out.

Personally, I don't think they should ever do Xen. Or if they do, it should be vastly reworked from the floating-platform jumpathon/hive-barrel-conveyor-belt/floating-testicle-cum-sky-baby-boss-thing.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:36 pm UTC

I was expecting that to be a link to the recent outsidexbox video about "that one bit that ruined a great game," which almost mentioned Zen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpcbRClyHuI

What I hated about the Nihilanth was that there wasn't anything to do but hit it. Doom / Doom II had a cyberdemon in a place with multiple teleporters so you could line him up and telefrag him, and a cyberdemon / spider mastermind pair that you could get to fight each other. HALO:CE had a tiny window of opportunity after a Banshee passed you to put a rifle bullet in between the parts of the hull, kill the pilot and steal the thing. Quake actually made you telefrag the main boss. The first boss had three buttons to use to fry him. Half-Life had the sonar worm in the rocket engine test bay and the convenient huge rocket motor right above it just waiting to be fired. The City of Heroes Task Forces had places where a particular character type could make a lot of difference with the right move. Left 4 Dead has places where a single bullet into a single fuel can can kill off a hundred common infected without you taking any damage at all, and clever ways to deal with Witches (plus one or two places you can trick the Tank into falling to his death). The Nihilanth had that one beady eye. I wasted so much time trying to get exact hits on that eye with various weapons in the mistaken belief that sticking a tranq dart into it would make him throw a fit and break his neck or something, and in the end it was just a really lame L4D Tank with 100,000 health and 0 movement speed. It's like looping the first 17 seconds of Eye of the Tiger a dozen times. I know you want the final, climactic battle to feel climactic but ... a climactic battle doesn't need 100,000 health.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:29 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:Did the Steam version of Black Mesa come with the uncut Surface Tension part? I downloaded the mod a few weeks after Black Mesa came out (and was still free), but when I tried adding the missing Surface Tension maps, it messed with my saves so I never managed to play it. Now I have (had) it on Steam (for, like, a year now), I've just reached the Surface Tension chapter, but I can't remember what section(s) was/were cut out from Half-Life in the first place, so I can't get self-righteously huffy should I find it has still been left out.

Personally, I don't think they should ever do Xen. Or if they do, it should be vastly reworked from the floating-platform jumpathon/hive-barrel-conveyor-belt/floating-testicle-cum-sky-baby-boss-thing.


They didn't use the 'uncut' mod assets, but the Black Mesa team did expand Surface Tension back to it's original length for the Steam release.

The other significant part they cut was from On a Rail, which honestly I don't mind all that much.

Story-wise I feel like ending with Gordon jumping into the teleporter and immediately getting snatched up by G-man rather than getting to Xen works fine. It screws with the Vortigaunts motivations in Half-Life 2 a little bit I guess, but not unfixably.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Echo244 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:05 pm UTC

...I suddenly feel like the only person who liked "On a rail" and the little train set it gave you, shooting the signals to change the points was a wonderful nod to the mine carts of Temple of Doom...
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Felstaff » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:56 pm UTC

I was very happy that the rail part of On a Rail was restored for the Steam release. For 14-year-old me, rounding the corners of an unknown black chasm on a little locomotive was the epitome of tension. Also, I'm one for cartography; I spend far longer than necessary (mentally) mapping out the terrain of the game I'm playing, and On a Rail was a miniature labyrinth, with me as the laconic Theseus, gradually unclouding the fog of war with my clew of string.

I was disappointed at its lack the first time round, and cheered when I realised it had been reinstated.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:44 am UTC

the original On a rail was a mixed bag for me. The idea of an epic train ride across the facility is a a solid premise, and mechanically it works very well. But some how that strong premise mixed with good mechanics turned into a tedious slog through a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.

I think if the different branches had more character than 'oh, this is the one with the alien ambush, as opposed to that one with the marine ambush, or the other one with the marine ambush.' it could have given the map more context and direction. Just something to give you a general sense of where in the maze you are and roughly where you're going.

Also, the build up makes it seem like once you're in the rail system, it's basically a straight shot to the Lambda Core and you'll be home free, but On a Rail is actually immediately followed by Apprehension and the major set-back where you end up having to fight your way over the surface to the Lambda Core.

If I was in charge of redesigning On a Rail 'the way it should have been made', I would have made each of the branches off the main loops a closed off/collapsed access to one of the sections/labs from the later levels and give it some of the aesthetics of that section or lab, maybe even a window or an overlook onto the section or something. The platforms would have indications as to what the previous/next stops are, and the NPC dialogues leading up to On a Rail will mention something along the lines of "oh yeah, you take the rail system under the Optics Lab, around the Waste Processing facility, across the river below the dam, and bingo, you're at Lambda section."
That way, you have a few landmarks in the rail system to guide you in the correct direction rather than just blindly guessing and backtracking, the different branches and platforms all have a unique and more memorable aesthetic to help identify them and provide a sense of progress as you find new areas, and you get some previews of areas you'll visit later on foot. It also makes On a Rail a nice follow-up to the opening tram section, possibly giving you another angle on some of those areas and how they fared in the Resonance Cascade. And gives more context to the rest of the game, making the events of Apprehension feel more like a proper set-back rather than just another obstacle.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:40 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:the original On a rail was a mixed bag for me. The idea of an epic train ride across the facility is a a solid premise, and mechanically it works very well. But some how that strong premise mixed with good mechanics turned into a tedious slog through a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.

Also, the build up makes it seem like once you're in the rail system, it's basically a straight shot to the Lambda Core and you'll be home free


Did you play through HL2 before HL1? I can see how On a Rail would seem superficially most similar to the vehicle moments in HL2, where those things are true. Starting and stopping, fighting, back to the vehicle, then an exposition sequence. I never got the impression that On a Rail was meant to be an epic train ride level towards freedom. I thought it was a level meant to slow the pacing a bit after the pit worm.

I remember I used to not like On a Rail but I warmed up to it over time. There are a lot of negative feelings about the level: the labyrinth (it feels much worse than it is just because it's a series of narrow tunnels), the claustrophobia, the ambushes and rockets. It takes away the whole strategy of strafing enemies. Feeling those things isn't a bad thing though, rather, it's interesting that you're feeling them. The only bad feeling is one of playing a bad game. I think Ravenholm and Blighttown have a similar thing going on with them. The love/hate being the after/before of this realization.

If Half Life were released today I imagine the levels would make a lot more sense, but when you have crates held aloft over a bottomless pit for no reason you kind of have to let some things slide. She's coming up on her 18th birthday. Almost old enough to where I don't have to hide the fleshlight I secured inside the box. Everyone will know our love!

On the subject of Half Life, here's Half-Life 2 | Entire Campaign Without Jumping.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:11 am UTC

I didn't play any Half Life game until just before the Orange Box came out. In my early gaming life I tended strongly to prefer strategy and tactical games to shooters (I largely still do) with occasional exceptions made for Star Wars games, The Legend of Zelda and EverQuest.

At some point, A friend introduced me to Deus Ex and later Halo, but in September of 2007 my only experience of single player shooters was Goldeneye 64, Halo 1, 2 and 3, Deus Ex and the Dark Forces/Jedi knight series. With all the hubub surrounding the Orange Box I figured it was a good time to find out what all this 'Half Life' business was about. So I downloaded Steam, preordered the Orange Box and bought the original Half Life. Played through Half-Life, bought and marathoned through Blue Shift and Opposing Force(because that was the kind of disposable income and time I had in 2007), spent a weekend trying to figure out if it was possible to emulate Decay on PC, whether or not I could maybe convince my brother or a friend to play with me, or if it would be possible to play both characters at once (the answers to those questions in order: No, Hell No, and it doesn't matter because the answer to the first question was No). Then, while waiting for the Orange Box proper to unlock, I mastered playing Spy in the TF2 beta to such an extent that regulars on the servers I used to frequent still reflexively check their backs for my knife when they hear my voice or see my screen-name.

Then when the Orange Box unlocked, I played through Half Life 2, both episodes, and portal, before returning to my true calling as a spy in TF2.

So yea, I played Half Life before Half Life 2, but I expect that my experience and understanding of the original Half Life (and the Half Life series in general) is probably very different from most.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Felstaff » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:26 am UTC

I played Half Life on a Pentium II 266MHz Windows '95 machine with a Voodoo2 graphics card. Just getting it to work was a victory in itself. Then when I managed to get it running at 800*600 resolution through OpenGL (rather than Direct3D, which would crash the game at loading points), there would be a distinct lag between keyboard input and graphical reaction. This was only really noticeable in that bit around Blast Pit, where you had to switch the giant fan on and then climb the ladder before the blades sliced you in two (and you got the bip-biiiiiiiiiiiiiiip hazard suit noise). Navigating that with a noticeable ~200ms lag between your input and the character's actions was a major pain in the ass.

I think we had very distinct experiences of the game, mainly due to time and technological progress. I couldn't imagine suffering the slings and arrows of incompatible hardware configurations nowadays.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Echo244 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:42 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:I think we had very distinct experiences of the game, mainly due to time and technological progress. I couldn't imagine suffering the slings and arrows of incompatible hardware configurations nowadays.


...or having to remember your Soundblaster IRQ, twerk your autoexec.bat to trim everything down and give the game enough memory to run...
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:56 am UTC

Not to compare e-peens, but trust me, I know those feels. I didn't play half Life until 2007, but that doesn't mean I didn't play PC games back in the bad old days. I could probably still type the DOS commands to launch a half dozen games or so from memory, just not any shooters.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:06 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:I played Half Life on a Pentium II 266MHz Windows '95 machine with a Voodoo2 graphics card. Just getting it to work was a victory in itself. Then when I managed to get it running at 800*600 resolution through OpenGL (rather than Direct3D, which would crash the game at loading points), there would be a distinct lag between keyboard input and graphical reaction. This was only really noticeable in that bit around Blast Pit, where you had to switch the giant fan on and then climb the ladder before the blades sliced you in two (and you got the bip-biiiiiiiiiiiiiiip hazard suit noise). Navigating that with a noticeable ~200ms lag between your input and the character's actions was a major pain in the ass.

I think we had very distinct experiences of the game, mainly due to time and technological progress. I couldn't imagine suffering the slings and arrows of incompatible hardware configurations nowadays.


I was on a P166 with on-board graphics and 16mb RAM - just below the advertised min spec for both Half Life and Opposing Force - HL was playable with the occasional bit of lag; OF was unplayable due to multi-second lag and extreme slowdown from the start.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:24 am UTC

My worst case of "minimum specs aren't nearly good enough" syndrome was a piece of shit called Sim City Cvilisations or something like that. It was crap. Nothing I could do would disable the supposedly optional fire disaster which crashed the game every time despite the fact I had better than the minimum specs. When I gave up and tried to uninstall it it insisted on connecting to the internet to verify the installation I wanted to uninstall. After 15 minutes of nothing happening, I clicked "Cancel" and got told I wasn't authorised to cancel that operation. I can reach the power button from here. I can cancel the hell out of that operation. When I tried to delete the files, I ran into a locked file called "secret police" that just refused to be deleted.

How to find a file's address on your hard drive

How to find a file fragment size on your hard drive

How to write directly to a particular address on your hard drive

Picture of two women kissing

Save image, open image in GIMP, scale image until it saves at a particular size, write it to a particular address and ta-da! no more secret police.

Incidentally, if you're thinking of buying a game and EA had something to do with it, don't buy it.

Half-Life 2? I got as far as that bit in the train yard where you're getting shot at a lot and have no weapons and no idea where to go so you have to play it again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again until you figure out which route doesn't get you killed, played it again and again and again and abandoned the whole thing.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby New User » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:01 pm UTC

I recently picked up The Talos Principle during a Steam sale. I hoped it would be a good game, but it far exceeded my hopes. I consider it excellent! I'm near the end, but haven't finished it yet, so no spoilers please. But I just wanted to mention it here and recommend it to anyone who likes puzzle games, especially that kind of modern first-person puzzle game where you go from room to room, interacting with the environment to try to reach switches to reach the exit or a collectible token, as popularized by Portal.

In fact, I was vaguely aware that there had been a few imitators since Portal's success, but a quick web search shows me that there aren't quite as many as I had imagined.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Xeio » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:28 pm UTC

I still need to pick up the DLC for Talos Principle, I just haven't gotten around to it.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby New User » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:18 pm UTC

I bought the Road to Gehenna DLC, since it was one sale also. I haven't touched it yet, since it's my understanding that it is meant to come after the vanilla setting. Also, it seems that there are maps made by the player base available through the Steam Workshop, but I'm not sure what Steam Workshop is all about. Is the stuff found there free? Is it all unofficial mods made by the players? Since modding isn't new, is Steam Workshop just a centralized way to distribute and share these mods, officially sanctioned by Steam and presumably the developers/publishers of any game supported by Steam Workshop?

Also, in The Talos Principle, I really enjoy finding the hidden secret areas and easter eggs. I have found ways to complete some puzzles that I'm sure are not intended to be the "normal" way, although I can't be certain that the developers hadn't also found my unorthodox solutions. For example, in one area I found a way to get a hexahedron outside of a room I'd already solved, and then used it to climb onto a wall into an unsolved puzzle room. From that wall, I was able to jump down straight onto the Sigil. I never bothered to solve the puzzle of that room after I got the Sigil that way.

In another room, I didn't realize there was a third reflector available. I could picture in my mind how to solve the puzzle with three reflectors, but I thought the challenge was to find a solution using only two. So I found a solution alright, by climbing onto wall (again with a carefully placed hexahedron) and placing a reflector straddling a narrow wall so it could direct a laser from the source over that wall and to the target behind the source. I figured that this was as good a solution as any, and then I found the third reflector.

Still another puzzle, I never found the "correct" solution. At least, I couldn't figure out the solution by using the given materials. I had to use a jammer I highjacked from another room to hold a door open. After I solved the puzzle that way, I thought of a solution that might work, but I didn't bother resetting the room to try another solution since I already had the Sigil.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:53 pm UTC

Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Xeio » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:17 pm UTC

New User wrote:Also, in The Talos Principle, I really enjoy finding the hidden secret areas and easter eggs. I have found ways to complete some puzzles that I'm sure are not intended to be the "normal" way, although I can't be certain that the developers hadn't also found my unorthodox solutions. For example, in one area I found a way to get a hexahedron outside of a room I'd already solved, and then used it to climb onto a wall into an unsolved puzzle room. From that wall, I was able to jump down straight onto the Sigil. I never bothered to solve the puzzle of that room after I got the Sigil that way.

For the most part, it seems like the devs thought of most of the major ways you can break individual puzzles. Pretty much every time you can do so it's part of a hidden sigil puzzle.

Relatedly, I recommend not making it a personal goal to find all the sigils without a guide though, some of them feel very unfair, but it's fun finding a pretty good number of them.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:54 am UTC

Steam Workshop functions very similarly to Nexus Mods, in that it's a distribution platform for mods uploaded by users. Since Steam also has access to the game files, it installs the mods for you and keeps them updated (even if you don't want to). The mods aren't really sanctioned by Steam, but there are some rules. As we all know, the modding community has no rules, so some mods won't be on Steam Workshop.



My favorite puzzle game in recent years is The Swapper. I've completed it several times and yet I still find it enjoyable. The main mechanic is very interesting to me. It's somewhat similar to Portal in the sense that it doubles as a movement mechanic, but there is something sinister and unsettling about it. What you're doing is useful, necessary, and potentially horrendous.

The story is constantly reminding you that you have no idea how this device works, and it shapes the decision you make at the end. There are two endings. The creepy existential-crisis ending, and the bad ending. There's also another character you meet who is a little strange, but you learn all about that.

As for the puzzles, and I think this is very much like Portal, is that solving the puzzles is fun even when you know the solution. I haven't played Talos Principle but I don't think it has that effect. Are there any puzzles that you would enjoy solving a second time? Not that a puzzle game needs to in order to be good, but I would say that I definitely prefer them.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby New User » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:43 am UTC

Thanks for the reply about Steam Workshop, I have a much better idea of what it's all about now.

I'm definitely going for finding all Sigils and stars in The Talos Principle without the help of a guide. Although I just recently inadvertently saw what may have been a hint to a star I could see but couldn't reach. As for the devs thinking of everything, yes, there have been several times I was happy to reach an area that I thought was off limits, only to find some easter egg waiting for me there. There have also been several times I have gone off limits and found nothing, so I don't know which one makes me feel more accomplished...

And no, I don't think it would be appealing to solve any of the puzzles a second time. I haven't played Portal 2, but what this game has over Portal is many more puzzles. It's been a long time since I played it, but didn't Portal have about 17 to 19 puzzle rooms before the part where you go off the rails? And that part was cool, and about the equivalent of another three or four puzzle rooms if I recall. The Talos Principle has over 100 Sigils, each one requiring solving a puzzle room. In addition, there are at least 30 stars, which are the harder to find than Sigils and allow you to reach bonus rooms (with more Sigils, usually through harder puzzles). Presumably there will be an alternate ending for getting everything.

As for Swapper, I've had my eye on it. I recently have been able to play more games, since I recently got a good PC to replace my electric brick I had been using for the past several years. Swapper is on my vague mental wish list of games to buy when the time is right.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:37 pm UTC

New User wrote:I recently picked up The Talos Principle during a Steam sale. I hoped it would be a good game, but it far exceeded my hopes. I consider it excellent! I'm near the end, but haven't finished it yet, so no spoilers please. But I just wanted to mention it here and recommend it to anyone who likes puzzle games, especially that kind of modern first-person puzzle game where you go from room to room, interacting with the environment to try to reach switches to reach the exit or a collectible token, as popularized by Portal.

In fact, I was vaguely aware that there had been a few imitators since Portal's success, but a quick web search shows me that there aren't quite as many as I had imagined.


This is definitely one of the best games I've played in quite awhile. Looks beautiful, puzzles are tricky (a lot of the star ones were beyond me, but I solved all of the regular ones), the story and ingame philosophy discussions are both interesting. I should pick up the DLC sometime.

I did notice that although it ran very smoothly on my machine, my laptop got disturbingly hot while playing this game and the fans kept going long after I stopped.

[edit]I actually preferred Talos to Portal, myself. The problem I found in Portal was that if I got stuck, there wasn't anything I could do but keep trying or go to a guide. In Talos, there's usually lots of other stuff to do at any given point, so if you get stuck, you can always go somewhere else. Sometimes solving a later puzzle will make the solution to an earlier one be quite obvious.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:28 am UTC

I looked at a speedrun just because it would be the quickest way to see what the later levels looked like. Talk about unintended solutions.

LaserGuy wrote:I did notice that although it ran very smoothly on my machine, my laptop got disturbingly hot while playing this game and the fans kept going long after I stopped.


Limit the framerate to 60 in the options? I think it defaults to unlimited. Which means that your laptop is trying to render as many frames as possible.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Magnanimous » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:35 pm UTC

I highly recommend Antichamber, if you're looking for non-linear puzzle games.

GFT: I played Gods Will Be Watching recently and it was a good bit of storytelling. I didn't really enjoy the overall plot but each chapter was executed well. There's a constant feeling that all of the choices you make will turn out badly but you have to pick something.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:21 pm UTC

Wanted to play something and couldn't decide what, so I figured I'd maybe clear out some of my Steam Sale backlog.

First I tried Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
I had to register it with a CD key, luckily steam makes that a very easy ctrl+C, ctrl+V operation. It seemed to accept the key ok, but then popped-up a message about the authenticity being questionable and it crashed.
I tried again, and this time it let me get tot he start screen, but froze. I messed around with some settings and tried again, but this time it crashed at the start screen. I looked up online wtf, and it seems the game needs to be started through uPlay. Super annoying, so I passed.

So I moved on to try Dark Void. For some reason it launches in windowed mode and there's no way in game to change it. It does support 1080p though and I can deal with a window border. Game seemed to run well through the 'prologue' level and looked better than I expected it too, but crashed on a cutscene early on. Again I turned to google and discovered this is apparently some sort of physX/framerate related problem, so I tried disabling physx and capping the frame rate, also turned up some ini tweaks that were supposed to help and while I was in there enabled fullscreen. No dice, still crashes.

Then I moved on to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, which unaccountably crashes on the LucasArts logo when you start it up and at this point I'm basically just too sick of it to try and figure out why.

I am reminded of mini Ninjas, a fantastic game that just doesn't run on x64 systems for some reason.

I just wanted to spend a lazy afternoon playing some computer games dammit.

I think next I'm gonna try to play Ocarina of Time on Dolphin with my steam controller because I hate myself and don't deserve to have fun.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Felstaff » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:52 pm UTC

GFTI: Despite having Civ III, IV, and V, plus all DLC on my Steam, I have never played a game of Civilisation.

GFTII: I wish more people played GoldenEye: Source. I haven't played it in a while, but it's been a long time since I managed to play a match with more than one person online.

GFTIII: I spent a very long time trying to get an old CD-ROM of Virtual Springfield to work. Longer, it turns out, than I have actually spent playing the game. Since moving house I think I've lost the CD, and I really want to play it! If only to hear Phil Hartman's voice again. "Of course, we all know Springfield for its award-winning dandelions and as birthplace of the glove compartment!"
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:57 pm UTC

I got Civ V free from some promotion and tried it out, I feel like if I'd been a Civ fan from the beginning I would have probably really enjoyed it, but as it was I had no idea what was going on and the game does little to educate you beyond the most basic stuff. I love Grand STartegy games and Turn Based stuff, but I just couldn't get into Civ V.

I would totally be down for some Goldeneye Source sometime though. I haven't played in a while so I have to download the latest version probably, but I had a blast playing it back when there were more people online consistently
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby HES » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:14 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I feel like if I'd been a Civ fan from the beginning I would have probably really enjoyed it

Nah, if you were a Civ fan from the beginning you would have been too busy complaining about how different it was.

Felstaff wrote:GFTI: Despite having Civ III, IV, and V, plus all DLC on my Steam, I have never played a game of Civilisation.

Time to spend £60 on Civ VI then?
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:22 pm UTC

HES wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:I feel like if I'd been a Civ fan from the beginning I would have probably really enjoyed it

Nah, if you were a Civ fan from the beginning you would have been too busy complaining about how different it was.


Actually, I was happy that Civ5 finally brought an end to Civ4 style stacking.

Stacking was an awful strategy in Civ1 because all your units died after a single unlucky combat. Civ2 had the HP-thing going on, which made the stacking system a bit better, but a single powerful attack would still destroy your entire stack.

Civ4's stacking behavior was simply nuts. A lot of fights ended up being left->right movements with HUGE stacks with one or two "mass damage" units (catapults or bombers). I didn't enjoy Civ4 at all. Losing units one at a time seems like a good way to fix the earlier stacking systems, but it just drew out combat to a glacial pace... and combat became horribly tedious and unfun.

Civ5 made it illegal to stack units, which was annoying at first but I found that movement strategies became more in-depth because of it.

I never played Civ3.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Xanthir » Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:51 pm UTC

Hallelujah, yes, 5's treatment of unit combat was miles better than any previous, once you got over the changes.

Not to mention one of the worst part of earlier stack-based combat - you have a nice peaceful border with someone, everything's going great, then SUDDENLY WAR + NIGHTMARE-STACK. You can't take on a 20-unit stack unprepared, it's gonna just murder a bunch of your cities. In 5 you can still get swarmed, but (a) it's much more obvious, because there's a lot of units hovering near your border, and (b) it's slower, because they can only attack you from so many directions. A good swarm will still definitely take cities, you can only defend so much, but you wear them down and can prepare a defense for your other cities, rather than just a stack-o-death sweeping thru a city every turn or two. And terrain actually matters! Choke points exist, and are meaningful, and actually force you to adjust your strategy!

(And, ugh, the dreaded "oh shit, I misclicked and that city's lone defender just waltzed out of the city, now they'll take it with a goddam warrior".)
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:34 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:And terrain actually matters! Choke points exist, and are meaningful, and actually force you to adjust your strategy!


Terrain and Fortifications mattered in Civ1 and Civ2 for sure. It was just Civ4's awful stacking behavior nullified terrain issues. I think going back to Civ2 style stacking would be worthwhile... but Civ5's combat system was still great.

But yeah, Civ5 brought it all together: cultural borders , useful fortifications and chokepoints. Ranged combat and more. The later expansion packs "Gods and Kings" and "Brave New World" solidified the system and made everything great. (lol Rockstar-bombs were the most powerful weapon before the expansions... afterwards, "culture bombs" could basically only be executed by Great Generals / military expansion and were nerfed to only a great fortification)

Rockstar bombs were fun, don't get me wrong. But they were clearly overpowered. I'm glad they fixed that. Rockstars were basically a military unit back then.

After "Brave New World", the only way to get a "cultural victory" was to build up a huge number of wonders, fill them up with priceless artifacts (even better if you traded with your allies), max out your tourism stats, and then mass-produce rockstars to visit all of the other nations in the world.

You know, how a cultural victory should go down.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Felstaff » Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:39 pm UTC

So I'm going to start playing Civ. Where should I begin? (as I have III-V a mere II clicks away). Any good tips for beginners? I have more experience with RTSs over TBSs. Well, since about 1999 anyway.

I'm only going to play it until the torrent for GoldenEye: Source v5.0 has finished. My last version was 4.2. 2 gigabubbles is going to leave me about, hmm, 42 minutes and 13 seconds to play it.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:01 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:So I'm going to start playing Civ. Where should I begin? (as I have III-V a mere II clicks away). Any good tips for beginners? I have more experience with RTSs over TBSs. Well, since about 1999 anyway.


Civ5 is the best game out of those IMO. Even if you get a version without the expansion packs (which greatly improve the game), vanilla Civ5 is just better.

Civ2 is basically available through the excellent open-source clone game FreeCiv. I only recommend Civ5 or Civ2 out of all of the games. Civ2 / FreeCiv has the advantage of being simpler. But the graphical improvements, voice acting, animations really add a sense of flair to Civ5. Civ5 is a damn good game in its own respects anyway.

--------

Start slowly. There's a huge amount of information. Just play a few times and get used to things. IMO, its more important to play the early game multiple times until you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals... instead of building on top of a flawed empire. Your first game should be a domination game. Aka, kill everyone else. Its simple to understand and kinda fun actually. Then branch off to alternative win conditions once you understand the finer details of the game (space race, culture, diplomatic victory...)

----------

The fundamentals of city building are unchanged in all versions:

* Food for population growth. Each time your food stores reaches maximum, a city get +1 population. Each time your food stores reach minimum, you get -1 population. A city with population 5 (and no civil unrest or corruption) has five workers.

* Production (aka Shields) make things. Military units, buildings, or world wonders. Early units require low amount of production to make (iirc, like 40 shields for an archer). Late-game units require assloads of production (nuclear missiles require 1000 shields). World wonders require hundreds (in the early game) or tens-of-thousands (in the late game) to build. In every game, an alternative win condition is the completion of the space race before 2050 (requires building space program world wonder, rocket ship and all of its parts).

* Trade for gold / science / luxuries. The conversion of "trade" into gold / science / luxuries is determined by your "tax rate". (Yeah, when you set taxes, you basically set your proportions for how much trade gets turned into what).

* You can convert workers into specialists who provides +2 of a certain trade. Tax collectors provide +2 gold. Scientists provide +2 science. Entertainers provide +2 luxury. Gold provides you money (can be used to purchase buildings / units instantly. Also, most good buildings have maintenance costs). Science advances you through the technology tree.

Easy mode (Chieftan) means you basically can ignore luxuries. Luxuries are there to increase happiness in your city. If unhappiness rises too high, your cities will go into civil unrest and you can't use the city until you take back control. Worry about luxuries later, when you up the difficulty to normal mode or higher.

Science advancements and buildings typically provide a multiplicative effect on your fundamentals. For example, workshops are +2 production and +10% production, factories are +4 production AND +10% production. Or you mix library + universities for max science. Read the details in your specific game's help, as these details shift from game to game for balance reasons (and they shift as you unlock more and more buildings from the technology tree).

-----------

You can "go tall" (few cities with huge population counts in them), or "go wide" (many cities with low population count). Figure out your style through multiple playthroughs.

"Tall" is achieved by maxing out your terrain bonuses... use settlers or engineers to build irrigation channels (+food) to support large populations, building mines to support useful production, building roads (and much much later... railroads) for +trade for science advancement. (Irrigation channels can only be built next to rivers or other irrigation channels. Mines are incompatible with irrigation).

"Wide" is typically achieved by conquering other nations. In Civ5, there are penalties applied to science production the wider you get, which is why "puppet cities" exist in that game. (you get the taxes and stuff from a puppet-city, but you can't control the city directly).

In either case, you'll need to learn which locations are good spots to build cities. Later games, like Civ5, have a "This looks like a nice spot to build a city", which works pretty well. But once you learn how the terrain system works, you'll be able to pick out better locations yourself. Generally speaking, you want a location with plains (+2 food) with a river (easy access to irrigation, and +1 trade)
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Felstaff » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:56 pm UTC

So I declared war on Gandhi within the first 8 moves.

It looks like Gandhi has renounced his philosophy of non-violence in favour of a philosophy of whoop-ass.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:18 pm UTC

In my experience of what was probably original Civilization, the time it takes to upgrade the land around a starter city enough to start researching textiles (meaning we were all wearing rabbit-fur bikinis until then?) and send out one settler unit to look for a good spot for another city is about the same length of time it takes the neighbour to build a squadron of tanks, a squadron of artillery, two bombers and a dozen mechanised infantry units.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:49 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:So I declared war on Gandhi within the first 8 moves.

It looks like Gandhi has renounced his philosophy of non-violence in favour of a philosophy of whoop-ass.


Gandhi had a glitch in Civ1 which made him the most aggressive character in the entire game. (basically, so many "negative" points added together that the "aggression" stat underflowed and then maxed out)

The Civilization community found this hilarious that they kept the "glitch" and have made it an explicit feature in every version of the game since then. Don't fuck with Gandhi.

Or actually, if Gandhi is in your game, kill him first. Before nukes are researched. Seriously, things get bad. Kill him before the nukes come out.

Sableagle wrote:In my experience of what was probably original Civilization, the time it takes to upgrade the land around a starter city enough to start researching textiles (meaning we were all wearing rabbit-fur bikinis until then?) and send out one settler unit to look for a good spot for another city is about the same length of time it takes the neighbour to build a squadron of tanks, a squadron of artillery, two bombers and a dozen mechanised infantry units.


Difficult learning curve is difficult.

The starter city location is hugely important. +Food is probably more important than anything else, as settlers cause your population to drop by 1. The 2nd city should have more production, while the first city is really about establishing a big population.

Also, Civ1 was all sorts of lulz. Your spearmen might win vs Battleship due to how luck worked in that game. Great game for its time-period, but Civ2 is a strictly superior game. Sid Meyers basically figured out all of the problems with Civ1 and fixed them by Civ2. (kinda like how Mrs. Pacman is a strictly better game than the original Pacman)

------------

While we're talking about Civ5...

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