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Trapper Zoid


I'm still working on architecture design (I'm so rusty at software engineering it hurts); so there's not that much to add here just yet. I need to read a few more articles on resource management to figure out what to do with the memory, as that's the big thing that I'm uncertain of right now. Presently I'm thinking of storing all the art assets in a honkin' great big archive singelton, responsible for managing all the 2D textures, but I'm not sure of the internals yet, or if that's the best approach. I guess I just need to double-check other people's suggestions; there's bound to be heaps of stuff around to learn from. I also guess I'll plan to spend a couple of hours on the weekend to finish off the design as best I can, as I don't know whether I can really assess the suitability of a design until I try to implement it.

So for the rest of this journal entry I think I'll just fill it out with all the things I've been meaning to put in over the last couple of months, but didn't for some reason or another. I might as well get them all down at once.

I've been playing a couple of games over the last few months that I'd been meaning to list, so here's a micro-review of the main ones I've tried out. Note I'm not exactly up-to-date with my playlist, given that I like to buy stuff that's half-price or cheaper!

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: I got this off e-bay because I wanted to study how the "paper" art style works in a game - it's fairly similar to what I want to do in my games - and because I heard the game was fairly good. I'm nearly at the end, and "fairly good" is an understatement; this is one of the best console RPGs I've ever played. I guess it's because I've always thought RPGs (and console RPGs) are a little bit silly, and so I like those games that don't take themselves too seriously. It's like the pantomime or vaudeville of RPGs, which works beautifilly. It also has a console RPG battle system that doesn't totally suck, which is extremely rare!

Space Colony: Wavinator suggested to try this last year as it was similar to my village simulator idea, so I decided to pick this one up out a bargain bin. It's a sort of cross between those base building games (what is the usual terminology for that SimCity/RollerCoaster Tycoon genre?) and the Sims, and it's actually not all that bad (although my opinion might be based on how it doesn't suffer from the usual batch of annoying glitches that most base building games are plagued with). It's fairly amusing to have a whole bunch of wacky characters interacting with each other in a space colony setting. It is a bit hard to balance the colonists relationships between each other and the maintaining of the base, especially with a dozen or so colonists. I suppose that's the point of the game, but the micromanagement is a bit annoying.

Evil Genius: Another bargain bin game. I've only tried this out last weekend, because I've always wanted to make a base building game based on evil lair construction and villainy. This is a game where you try to reenact the life of an evil Bond supergenius and take over the world. I love the style of this game, but the game is hampered by annoying bug with the video system where textures keep getting corrupted, making it impossible to view text info screens. It also seems to take forever to gather enough resources and evil henchmen to actually do anything. Also for some reason your base is crawling with investigators and tourists (??!), which your henchmen won't do anything with unless you explicitly tell them to. I guess I need to fix that damn glitch and play for a bit more to see if it's really any good.

Baldurs Gate II: Only mentioning this because of Archwizard's journal; I actually started playing through again earlier this year as a Fighter/Thief (a fair bit before Archwizard mentioned it, honest!) and am very slowly working my way through the game again. Not really a new game, since I've beaten it twice already, but it's still one of my favourite RPGs, so its worth hunting down if you are one of those rare RPG fans who hasn't played it yet.

Starscape Demo: I tried this out from the link in Poo Bear's journal to Moonpod. It's actually quite good; an arcade shooter with a sort of Star Control backing plot, from what I've seen. Annoyingly the demo doesn't have a load facility, so given I only have short play times to try this out I haven't got very far, but what I've seen impresses me a lot.

Doukutsu Monogatari (Cave Story): A SNES-style action-adventure platformer style game that's freeware. Definitely recommended if you haven't played it already!

Speaking of games, I've noticed there's a fair amount of buzz in both the forums and the journals about Oblivion. I've been interested in this game for a while, although more about its A.I. system than its graphics. However, for me since one of the main advantage of PC gaming over my Gamecube is the ability to buy games cheaply, I think I'll wait until the "Game of the Year" version with the expansion pack and numerous bug fixes is out in a year or two, like I did with Morrowind (actually finishing Morrowind will also be a prerequisite!). I also can't really afford the time to get sucked into another zillion hour plus open ended RPG right now.

However, I am wondering if the game A.I. really is as good as it was claimed. Do you get to care about the characters? I remember in Morrowind everyone seemed to be a clone of each other; it was very impersonal after a while. I also didn't like being mindless attacked by Cliff Racers with stupid pathfinding every ten damn feet (is that still in the game?)

Oh, and an indicator of whether the game will be playable on my Athlon 64 3000 with a Radeon 9700 Pro would be good too. Note that after 15 years of gaming with average or below average gaming PCs, my definition of "playable" does not mean "60 FPS all the time" but "technical issues don't hamper this game being fun".

Oh, and I haven't noticed anything on the Internet about Apple making an announcement about upgrading their line of iBooks, dagnabit!
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re: Oblivion

I personally didn't exactly come to care for characters, but I'm the sort that's near impossible to gain emotional attachment to people, let alone pixellated people. The characters though seem to have quite a bit more, well, character than in Morrowind.

ESIV has quick travel, horses and an actually functional map. You'll still get attacked randomly by wild creatures in the wilderness, but you're only really wandering in the wilderness if you want to be.

I'm playing on a dual Athlon 1800/1 gig/GeForce 7800, and it's quite playable [and still pretty] at 800x600/medium detail.

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"Care" might have the wrong word for me to use; it was more that the NPCs didn't really have much of a personality in Morrowind; or rather they all seemed to have the same personality.

The horses sound interesting; do you get your own distinctive horse, and appropriate mounted combat (lances, horse archery etc.)? That would be pretty fun.

I'm still a bit wary of the requirements though; while I'm a bit hazy on the comparisons a Geforce 7800 sounds like its a fair bit more powerful than my Radeon 9700 Pro. While my computer meets the minimum specs its a bit below the recommended, and I'm not going to bother upgrading for this game (truth be told, I'm slowly moving towards console gaming as the PC is becoming too much of a hassle to be a cutting edge gaming platform).

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There are classes of horses, as well as a few uniques. I don't think there's mounted combat, but the horses themselves can aid in combat. Mostly they're a mechanism to avoid wildlife [to my knowledge].

I haven't followed the hardware scene for some time, and generally avoid ATI anyways, so can't compare the cards.

I can't stand console gaming for most things I enjoy. Either the controller is too limiting, or the TV resolution prevents effective feedback, or the network is non-existant.

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It's the things like not being able to compare two graphics cards easily, and the "minimum" specs not really being the minimum to enjoy the game, the fact that half the time there's some annoying crash bug in a new game, having to deal with drivers, copy protection etc. that's all building up to a big ball of frustration with the PC gaming scene. Admittedly I am still a PC gamer, have been for decades and will probably always be, but the consoles are just so much easier to deal with. I'm also sick of having to upgrade a perfectly good PC for everything other than games just to play the latest titles.

Better stop now - I could go on a rant for hours on this topic otherwise [grin]

Besides which, as you might have guessed from my list of games I've played this year, I'm more into low spec games on my PC. There's plenty of good entertainment to be had in 2D base building games. I'd forgotten how much I love that genre; I think I might try to skew my own engine development towards that domain.

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With regards to the video card comparison, even the GeForce 6600GT is better then the Radeon 9800PRO, so the GeForce 7800 would blow you quite metaphorically out of the water. :)

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I know, which is why I'm a bit worried about the specs (especially because people with more powerful systems are saying they have problems). Still, I won't be picking up the game for quite some time, so maybe they'll be a demo.

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Re: Paper Mario - I really need to get this game before my GC dies. I haven't played it for a while and it's getting lonelier and lonelier. I plan on getting some fine multi-player games too, like Mario Kart. So this already classic game will be on the shelves shortly, after I find a job that is. (I wish I could pick up cash from the ground if I killed someone on the street, like in RPGs.. Wait, I CAN! [grin])

Re: Cave Story - Currently playing. It's cool. It's like Metroid. But the sound is damned annoying!! Hahaha. Good FREE game. Missing some elements though (REAL leveling and morphball would be nice)

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