What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

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Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 1, 2022, 1:26:32 PMAug 1
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Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
dive right into the games.

Just the Games
------------------------------
* Panzer Dragoon (2021 remake) (new?)
* TheHunter: Call of the Wild - Revontuli Coast DLC (replay/new)
* EuroTruck Simulator 2 (replay... yes again)

More Detail Than You Want
---------------------------------------
* Panzer Dragoon (2021 remake) (new?)
Back in 1995, I was an insufferable PC Master Race snob. I was fully
confident that my platform of choice was by far the best way to play
video games, beating out any competition with its advantages in
performance, visuals, backwards compatibility, and variety of
gameplay. If you were a true gamer, you stuck to the PC platform, and
could safely ignore any of the 'kiddie' games that were available on
those toy consoles. (I'd like to say that I've mellowed somewhat over
the years but I'll leave that judgment on that to others).
Nonetheless, there were a handful of games that did almost make me
question my beliefs, and perhaps even triggered some heretical
thoughts such as actually buying a console. The original "Panzer
Dragoon" - first released for the Sega Saturn - was one such title.

It wasn't so much the gameplay that impressed me; even in 1995, the
rail-shooter was a dated mechanic whose moment in the sun had come and
gone. "Panzer Dragoon" was probably one of the better examples of its
ilk - utilizing a fully 3D world that allowed you to look in all 4
cardinal directions - but it still felt shallow with regard to its
gameplay. But the game had other things going for it. On a technical
front, it was quite impressive, with that aforementioned 3D world
moving very smoothly past you as dozens of enemies and projectiles
homed in on you. The animation of your dragon was impressive and the
visual world-building was amazing. The game had almost no story and no
dialogue, yet it absolutely oozed atmosphere and character. Its art
style also screamed 'anime', which - in the early 90s - was an instant
road to success.

At the time, I could only look at "Panzer Dragoon" from afar; I wasn't
ready to become an apostate and purchase a console just yet. I
eventually did get my hands on a copy, but between the difficulties in
getting the game to run at all (due to compatibilities between my TV
and the Saturn) and my general discomfort with the Saturn's gamepad,
the experience of actually playing the game was far less than I could
have hoped.

Then I learned they had made an updated remaster of the game for the
PC...and lemme tell you, it didn't take too long before I made sure
that game was added to my library.

And, I have to admit, that despite the 27 year wait, "Panzer Dragoon"
managed to provide me with a very satisfying experience. Don't get me
wrong; this is not a great game. Even with all the updates, the game
is very obviously a product of the 90s, and its gameplay and design is
extremely limited. For example, it took me roughly an hour to complete
the game; even today, when the game is being sold for $20, this is
extremely poor value, and I can't imagine many gamers were any happier
back in 1995 when it cost three times that. In fact, the modern game
may be even simpler than the original, given it allows the pinpoint
accuracy provided by a mouse; I finished the game without a single
death thanks to my excellent sharp-shooting. And while the graphics
are far more lush and detailed, they lack some of the simplistic charm
of the original. Plus, for all the improvement made to the original,
the remake itself is already far behind the curve, with some notably
low-resolution textures and low-poly models in places.

Nonetheless, the remake is probably the best way to experience this
old classic; given its two-decade old bones, its not going to impress
you with its visuals or gameplay, but if you want to see what all the
fuss was about back in 1995, you'll probably get a better
understanding playing the remake than the original. As for me, I knew
what I was getting and - price not withstanding - am generally
satisfied with the result. It's "Panzer Dragoon" but better... but in
the end, it's still just "Panzer Dragoon".


* TheHunter: Call of the Wild - Revontuli Coast DLC
"TheHunter" remains on my hard-drive, having been granted a permanent
place thanks to its vivid visuals and relaxing atmosphere. I don't get
to go hiking in the real world quite as often as I like in some months
this virtual experience is -sadly- as close as I get to it.

"Revontuli Coast" is the game's newest map expansion DLC, a fictional
hunting reserve set up along the Baltic coast in Finland. I was
looking forward to this one, since the Scandinavian wilderness is
breathtaking, but in the end I found the experience in the game to be
very disappointing.

The biggest problem with the "Revontuli Coast" expansion is how
absolutely generic it felt. Although it had some unique assets and
quirks, on the whole the landscape felt cut-n-pasted from earlier
maps; there was very little that made this expansion feel distinctive
from any of the others. The limitations of the engine are also
becoming increasingly obvious, especially with regards to the
simplistic water physics; I /think/ the idea was for this map to be a
mix of wetlands and low forests, but given the complete lack of
flowing water in the game (there are ponds, but the water is glassy
and still) it was all but impossible to determine what was supposed to
be meadow and what was supposed to be marsh, which ruined the effect.
There also didn't seem to be any unique vegetation assets added to the
game, which just made everything feel even less distinctive.

The hunting is alright, although that's the area of the game I'm least
interested in and least able to judge. Being a wetlands, there's a lot
of focus on bird-hunting: geese, grouse, ducks, and capercaille are
all featured, in addition to usual standbys such as bear, moose,
rabbit and deer. But the limitations of the game engine rear its head
here too; the animations of the animals are too stilted and lack
variety, there's only a handful of sound effects for each animal, and
the AI continues to underwhelm.

The expansion does feature a few new additions: there's a water layout
blind (which I didn't bother with, since shooting the animals is easy
enough already without bothering with a blind), and boats. Or rather,
teleports made up to look like a boat-shaped asset. Scatted amongst
the lakes are a handful of small skiffs and rowboats; click on one and
you're instantly teleported to a dock on the other side of the lake.
You've no choice as to where you go and there's no transitional
animation; just a fade to black and then you're in a new place. Oh,
and there are some new guns too, but - with dozens of weapons already
available - these additions are hardly notable.

The whole effort seems phoned in and unimpressive. While the visuals
remain high-end, nothing else of the core gameplay has been improved,
and all the new additions - the landscape, the animals, the boats -
are clumsily done and lack novelty. It all feels very
paint-by-numbers; a characterless product done with the least effort
possible. Add to that the usual bugs - ranging from broken quests to
floating rocks to falling through world geometry - and there's very
little about this expansion to love. Finland deserved far better.



* EuroTruck Simulator 2 (replay... yes again)
I played slightly more ETS2 this month than I usually do, so it gets
its own entry again. It has actually been a while since I played this
game - between a recurring crash bug and the usual delay of the mods
being updated to work with the latest version of the game, I'd
switched over to American Truck Simulator" for a few months - so it
was a welcome return to the green highways of Europe.

But rather than repeat all the things I love about this game, instead
I thought that this time I'd mention some of the game's weaker points.

Like those silly "recruitment agencies". Nominally they are there so
you can hire truckers to work for your virtual truck company, but
their actual inclusion is pointless and annoying. Your employees have
no purpose except to earn money for you (they don't show up in the
gameworld), which significantly breaks the game's economy (case in
point: my virtual worth as a virtual truck magnate is significantly
above a cool virtual €1 billion, meaning I can buy every truck and
every property with money to spare). However, you can only hire from
these "recruitment agencies" after you discover it by driving past it
first (apparently Google doesn't exist in ETS2). Having discovered two
or three such agencies, you then are supplied with a seemingly endless
number of recruits, making discovery of the hundreds of other agencies
pointless. And worst of all, none of these agencies are marked as
"explored' on the map until you laboriously drive your truck into its
parking lot (and even more slowly back out).

Speaking of which, I wish the game marked roads as "explored' in a
more intuitive, consistent and less annoying way. Admittedly this
would be only to satisfy my own obsessive desire to make all the map
show up in yellow, indicating its officially been explored by me; it
has no effect on the gameplay, but it lets me know what parts of the
map I've already visited. With some roads, driving down it marks it -
and any intersections - as explored; other times, only a single lane
or direction might be updated. And for some highways, it can take
driving down them six or eight times to make it show up as fully
explored. The developers need to take pity on my OCR and update how
this is managed.

Tollbooths are annoying in real life, so its no surprise they are
annoying in this game too. But the sheer number of them also breaks
the game's immersion; in some regions (FRANCE!) there are - literally!
- toll plazas spaced one or two minutes apart. This is reasonable in
terms of the game's logic - the map of Europe is severely compressed,
so a two minute drive in the game might be equivalent to a cruise of
100 kilometers - but from a gameplay perspective, it's just horrible.
And does France really not have any high-speed drive-through
electronic tolling?!?

But despite these (and other!) minor gripes, I still find the game
incredibly satisfying to play. It has a huge, beautiful and varied
world to explore and driving a 50-ton cargo on a week-long journey
from Israel to Iceland remains a fun challenge. I've played this game
for years and years, and I expect to keep at it for years more.


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


And that's my list for this month. It may not be many games, but it
represents a lot of hours, most of which were quite enjoyable.

And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?


rms

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Aug 1, 2022, 3:21:37 PMAug 1
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>And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

Titanfall 2
I played through the campaign for this and enjoyed it immensely. It's a
straight-forward linear plot FPS, with both a wall-running mechanic and
mech-piloting sections for variety. The graphics are great, and there's a
wide range of fun weapons to try out. It took me 7 hours on Normal so no
big time investment either. I'm glad I played it!

Dead Space 1
Dead Space 2
Dead Space 3
Yes! I played through all the PC games! This is upon getting the bug after
finishing the two prequel novels Dead Space: Martyr and Dead Space Catalyst
a month or two ago. After finishing the 3rd I also watched the two short
animated films Dead Space: Downfall and Dead Space: Aftermath. That's a lot
of Dead Space!

And it was all enjoyable, in that B-movie sense. The second game is
probably the best for me; retaining the claustrophobic tension of the first
while introducing new areas and delving more into the mechanics of Unitology
religion. My initial distaste for DS3 after finishing it many years ago has
worn off for the most part -- Yes it has entirely too many doors to open
once you hit the planet; the plot is spread out with several moving parts,
reducing the tight cohesion of the first two games; there's a whack-a-mole
quality to the monsters in parts. But there are good bits as well, and the
plot twists and resolution I ended up accepting. It has a finishing DLC, be
sure to play that. Anyone else excited for the Dead Space 1 remaster that
is due soon?

rms

Dimensional Traveler

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Aug 1, 2022, 4:09:40 PMAug 1
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On 8/1/2022 10:26 AM, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
>
> Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
> them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
> let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
> think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
> dive right into the games.
>
I played some 'My Time at Portia' which no one here cares about. Then I
broke down and paid for the Early Access 'My Time at Sandrock' and have
been playing that. Since its basically just an evolution of Portia no
one here cares about it either.


--
I've done good in this world. Now I'm tired and just want to be a cranky
dirty old man.

Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 1, 2022, 4:40:06 PMAug 1
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On Mon, 1 Aug 2022 13:21:28 -0600, "rms" <rsqui...@MOOflashMOO.net>
wrote:

>>And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

> Dead Space 1
> Dead Space 2
> Dead Space 3
>Yes! I played through all the PC games! This is upon getting the bug after
>finishing the two prequel novels Dead Space: Martyr and Dead Space Catalyst
>a month or two ago. After finishing the 3rd I also watched the two short
>animated films Dead Space: Downfall and Dead Space: Aftermath. That's a lot
>of Dead Space!

That... is a lot of Dead Space.

I've played the games (also the mobile one, which wasn't too bad aside
from its controls) and seen the movies, but never knew about the
novels (I think I've read the comics, though. Assuming there was a
comic book; I seem to remember there was but maybe I'm confused). I'm
sure the novels are awful - books based on games usually are - but I
have to say I'm somewhat interested in reading them now that I've
learned of their existence.

The movies though... wow, that took me back. Remember when video game
movies were a thing? Not the big Hollywood movies that were made after
a franchise had proven itself successful, but the smaller films -
often animated - that were released alongside the games? The two "Dead
Space" films are one example of this; I think "Dragon Age" and "Mass
Effect" received the same treatment (hmm, all from Electronic Arts),
as well as some others (didn't Capcom's "Dead Rising" games get a
live-action treatment?).

I don't recall too much about the "Dead Space" movies except that they
weren't particularly good. I remember that they didn't do a very good
job at describing the universe; I suppose that they expected the
watcher to be already familiar with the setting and characters from
the video-game. Neither did the movies do much to expand the universe
(at least if my fading memories are to be believed), with both
generally recounting information the games had already shared. Still,
the movies' mere existence is interesting in and of itself; it spoke
to an optimism and creativity that seems lacking in today's
micro-transaction focused game's industry.

Did these movies count towards the profits of the video game industry
or the film industry, I wonder?

>Anyone else excited for the Dead Space 1 remaster that
>is due soon?

Not really, but largely because I don't get excited about remasters.
I'm tired of remasters, reboots and endless sequels. It's a lazy
attempt to separate money from players with little effort. I'd much
prefer all that talent and work be put to bringing me something new.


rms

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Aug 1, 2022, 7:27:53 PMAug 1
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>Ihave to say I'm somewhat interested in reading them now that I've
>learned of their existence.

Here is the order you should consume the media, according to the Dead Space
wiki. A lot of these are are non-pc or comic type stuff:

Dead Space Martyr (2010)
Dead Space: Catalyst (2012)
Dead Space (Comic) (2008)
Dead Space: Extraction (2009)
Dead Space: Downfall (2008)
Dead Space (2008)
Dead Space Salvage (2010)
Dead Space: Aftermath (2011)
Dead Space (mobile) (2011)
Dead Space: Ignition (2010)
Dead Space 2 (2011)
Dead Space 2: Severed (2011)
Dead Space: Liberation (2013)
Dead Space 3 (2013)
Dead Space 3: Awakened (2013)


rms

Ant

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Aug 1, 2022, 9:39:41 PMAug 1
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I briefly played Northgard, Hard West, Black Mesa, etc. Not playing much.


Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
> them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
> let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
> think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
> dive right into the games.
...
--
Last day of July 2022! :O RIP, Nichelle Nichols & Bill Russell. Dang old bodies & aches & tiredness. :(
Note: A fixed width font (Courier, Monospace, etc.) is required to see this signature correctly.
/\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://aqfl.net & http://antfarm.home.dhs.org.
/ /\ /\ \ Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail.
| |o o| |
\ _ /
( )

Idaho Homo Joe

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Aug 2, 2022, 4:12:26 AMAug 2
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Been playing the hell out of Rage 2
Its nonstop action and some serious
killing of motherfuckers! It even has
trannies that you can butcher. I really
like finding people in the desert and
grinding them into bloody hamburger
under the wheels of my vehicle.

There is a ton of things to do. I haven't
even scratched the surface and I have about
32 hours into the game.

Its the first game I've played that uses Vulkan
instead of DirectX. The performance is flawless
on a mid tier rig.

If you are only going to go single player,
then you need not worry about any of those
"coins" for purchase, as they're more for multi-player.

Get this game today and obliterate lots & lots of motherfuckers!

Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 2, 2022, 11:28:19 AMAug 2
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On Mon, 1 Aug 2022 13:09:40 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
<dtr...@sonic.net> wrote:


>I played some 'My Time at Portia' which no one here cares about. Then I
>broke down and paid for the Early Access 'My Time at Sandrock' and have
>been playing that. Since its basically just an evolution of Portia no
>one here cares about it either.

Ehn. I'm pretty sure most people don't care about my fascination with
"TheHunter: Call of the Wild" either (especially not played as a
walking sim, like I do). If you enjoyed your time with "Portia" and
"Sandrock", that's the important bit.

And who knows, maybe your enthusiasm about the games will convince
someone sitting on the fence to give them a shot.

I've always seen that as the whole point of these monthly threads,
after all. It's not just to boast "hey, look at all these games I've
played!" but to let others know what you think is good and why maybe
they should try it too.

But that's just me.



Justisaur

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Aug 2, 2022, 1:54:37 PMAug 2
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On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 10:26:32 AM UTC-7, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
> Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
> them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
> let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
> think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
> dive right into the games.

It's always a nice intro to the thing to ease one into it.

> Just the Games
> ---------------------------------------
> * Panzer Dragoon (2021 remake) (new?)
> For example, it took me roughly an hour to complete
> the game; even today, when the game is being sold for $20, this is
> extremely poor value, and I can't imagine many gamers were any happier
> back in 1995 when it cost three times that.

Yeah this sounds mildly interesting. But no way I'd drop $20 on
a one hour game that's at best mildly intriguing.

The other two don't interest me in the least, but to each their own.

>
> And that's my list for this month. It may not be many games, but it
> represents a lot of hours, most of which were quite enjoyable.
>
> And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

Still exclusively Cyberpunk 2077.
Best. RPG. Ever.

Truly I can't ever remember a game grabbing my feels like this,
It's almost up to Pixar movies in that respect, but obviously
much more adult, and filled with violence. I was really blown
away by everything in the main story, and the romance with a
certain nomad girl. Even many of the side missions were very
impactful in the story.

I don't want to get into spoilers here, I might save that for it's own
thread but suffice it to say to those who love RPGs for the R, this
is an absolute must buy even at full price. I'd also strongly
suggest playing a male Nomad if you haven't. I finished the
game playing one and everything felt really impactful, and then
created a new character, a female Corpo, and it feels far less
if at all impactful as Corpo doesn't have the same connections
to some people in the story. I do like the female's voice better,
but can't romance the nomad.

I have encountered a few bugs, less than what any other AAA
RPG (*Bethesda *cough*) offers though. It's certainly in a good
enough shape to play right now.

----- Combat section -----

The combat is just barely good enough to keep me interested.
It's certainly not a game to get for combat or looter shooter
type stuff. My first play was a smart gun fast tough guy, which I'd
decided to start on hard, and started out a bit rough, having to keep
reloading when I alerted someone, but eventually I figured out what
I was doing and got some levels and got gud. Too good perhaps,
the toughest fights after about a third of the way in may have only
taken me a two or three tries after I was about a third of the way
through the game. I did use some quickhacking, but didn't go full
in on it, mostly it just helped to get some stealth and separation
to begin with.

I went full on netrunner in my current play, and hardest difficulty,
and it felt way easier than my first play, now I can just kill
entire platoons before they can get a bead on me. Unfortunately
she's not tough, so if they do get a bead on me, I'm dead quick.
I did a particularly tough higher level area where I don't the
'enemies' aren't actually hostile, and I don't think you're intended
to kill them all, but I did (I didn't do that in my previous play and
left them alone.) That took me at least a half dozen reloads.

I've read lots of people complaining waiting slowly stealthing and
waiting for your quickhacks to kill enemies is annoying, but frankly
this has been considerably faster and more reliable than my fast
moving shotgun guy. I see people talking about using contagion,
but it's a bad quickhack as it does little damage, and I dropped it
quickly. I mostly use Short Circuit, which one shots most mobs
near your level if you're focusing on quickhacks, and refreshes
quickly. The overheat quickhack is my secondary, it's a bit slower
but still fast enough to usually take out enemies before they
discover where you are, and it refreshes only slightly slower.

With the quickhack tree completely filled and a few cyber
implants both those now refresh in under two seconds and
I can spam them against anything that dies to one cast.

I also never run out of bullets, which was a problem with the
other guy. You can craft them, but that uses up valuable
resources that better go elsewhere.

---- Crafting -----

I do find the clothing and weapon upgrading annoying,
as I can barely keep up money and parts for more than
a couple, and the clothes use the same parts. You
can just keep using whatever drops instead, but then
you're in some ugly clothes and don't have the special
abilities of the rarer weapons, or the even rarer weapon
and clothes mods. Buying weapons and clothes is
even more prohibitively expensive, and difficult to
find what you want at the stores.

If you go down the tech tree you can craft items,
but they're very limited compared to stuff you find.
You have to either wait until halfway through
leveling or neglect damage/defense to do much
beyond basic crafting too.
I'm not really sure how crafting works as it seems
to make something relatively near your level, but not
actually at it, and then you either have to keep crafting
the same item or upgrading it both of which use those
same components.

Using quickhacks at least avoids most of the weapon
side, you can and should craft quickhacks, but they
use different components, and you don't have to
upgrade quickhacks for every level like you do with
weapons and clothes. Once you craft a rarity of them
that's it.

Melee cyber-implants also work like that
too, so that might be viable, but I found using
the gorilla arms not very useful (other than one quest
line) for my other guy, it may require mantis blades
or monowire which requires reflex instead of body
investment I think. I'm tempted to make another
character to try that out, but still enjoying my
netrunner.

----- The Rest ----

The car driving is where this game really falls flat,
Motorcycles for some reason work significantly
better, except in the badlands/landfill, so I ride one
whenever I can, and getting one you can summon
after you've got a bit into the main story is a
godsend. There's not really a lot of reason you
need to drive anywhere though, as there's quicktravel
stations, though you do need to unlock those by getting
to them, and they are pretty far about in the badlands,
but you don't do a lot of missions out there. You can't
fire a gun from one unless someone else is driving,
which is only done in a few missions (and which
I think is the worst part of the game.) So there's
no driving around shooting gangs like there is in
GTA. Even driving into missions parks your car
and you can't do anything (except quickhacks,
but you're a sitting duck,) when it does until you get
out.

Visually the game is good, but I guess I'm not into
cyberpunk art that much, so it doesn't really impress
me. It may be even my 3060 Ti isn't enough to completely
handle this game at full effect either. We might have to
wait a couple generations until we can really see what
it looks like maxed out.

At least it's not cartoon/WoW which turns me off.
*shrug*

- Justisaur

Justisaur

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Aug 2, 2022, 2:09:07 PMAug 2
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On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 1:09:40 PM UTC-7, Dimensional Traveler wrote:
> On 8/1/2022 10:26 AM, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
> >
> > Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
> > them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
> > let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
> > think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
> > dive right into the games.
> >
> I played some 'My Time at Portia' which no one here cares about. Then I
> broke down and paid for the Early Access 'My Time at Sandrock' and have
> been playing that. Since its basically just an evolution of Portia no
> one here cares about it either.

I thought "What the hell are those? Japanese dating sims/novellas?"

I bothered to look them up, and it does say something about dating,
but overall seems more a Minecraft type game with a bunch
of different stuff to do while building, and cartoon graphics.

Yeah, not really my cuppa. Though I did enjoy Minecraft for a bit,
mostly with my son though. I can see the appeal at least, and
wouldn't mind reading a short take on them, but don't go out
of your way if you don't want to.

- Justisaur

Ross Ridge

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Aug 2, 2022, 2:37:32 PMAug 2
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Dimensional Traveler wrote:
> I played some 'My Time at Portia' which no one here cares about. Then I
> broke down and paid for the Early Access 'My Time at Sandrock' and have
> been playing that. Since its basically just an evolution of Portia no
> one here cares about it either.

Justisaur <just...@gmail.com> wrote:
>I thought "What the hell are those? Japanese dating sims/novellas?"

Nope.

>I bothered to look them up, and it does say something about dating,
>but overall seems more a Minecraft type game with a bunch
>of different stuff to do while building, and cartoon graphics.

I'd say they're more like Stardew Valley or the Harvest Moon games.
They're not like Minecraft where you can build or destroy anything
anywhere.

>Yeah, not really my cuppa. Though I did enjoy Minecraft for a bit,
>mostly with my son though. I can see the appeal at least, and
>wouldn't mind reading a short take on them, but don't go out
>of your way if you don't want to.

I've only played a bit of My Time at Portia, but as fan of the Harvest
Moon games it does look like a game I'd enjoy playing. It was a Epic
Games Store freebie a while back, so most people here should already
have it.

--
l/ // Ross Ridge -- The Great HTMU
[oo][oo] rri...@csclub.uwaterloo.ca
-()-/()/ http://www.csclub.uwaterloo.ca:11068/
db //

rms

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Aug 2, 2022, 2:38:57 PMAug 2
to
>Still exclusively Cyberpunk 2077.
>Best. RPG. Ever.

Great news! I'd almost forgotten about this title :) Once I finish a
few smaller games I'll check it out!

rms

Rin Stowleigh

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 6:51:24 PMAug 2
to
On Mon, 01 Aug 2022 13:26:23 -0400, Spalls Hurgenson
<spallsh...@gmail.com> wrote:

>And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

I started playing Tannenberg, a multiplayer shooter that was recently
a freebie on Epic. Very satisfying shooter that doesn't seek to
monopolize my time.

It's really just old school "one more round" kind of shooter but I
find it to be a lot of fun and reminds me why I enjoy the genre.

Spalls Hurgenson

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 8:41:58 PMAug 2
to
On Tue, 2 Aug 2022 10:54:36 -0700 (PDT), Justisaur
<just...@gmail.com> wrote:

>On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 10:26:32 AM UTC-7, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
>> Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
>> them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
>> let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
>> think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
>> dive right into the games.
>
>It's always a nice intro to the thing to ease one into it.
>
>> Just the Games
>> ---------------------------------------
>> * Panzer Dragoon (2021 remake) (new?)
>> For example, it took me roughly an hour to complete
>> the game; even today, when the game is being sold for $20, this is
>> extremely poor value, and I can't imagine many gamers were any happier
>> back in 1995 when it cost three times that.
>
>Yeah this sounds mildly interesting. But no way I'd drop $20 on
>a one hour game that's at best mildly intriguing.
>
>The other two don't interest me in the least, but to each their own.
>
>>
>> And that's my list for this month. It may not be many games, but it
>> represents a lot of hours, most of which were quite enjoyable.
>>
>> And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?
>
>Still exclusively Cyberpunk 2077.
>Best. RPG. Ever.

"Cyberpunk 2077" remains on my to-play list. Until recently, I
actually had it installed on the drive, just so I could start it at
any time. I recently uninstalled it to satisfy my "clean disk" fetish
;-)

The reason I want to play "Cyberpunk 2077"? Because of "Witcher 3", of
course. That was such a fantastic game and I want to see what the
developers did with C2077. Even though I know its an entirely
different genre - both in terms of gameplay and setting - I have faith
that CD Project RED will deliver a game with fantastic setting and
detail.

The reason I haven't played "Cyberpunk 2077"? Because of "Witcher 3",
which I played just a few months ago. "Witcher 3" was such a long and
involved game that I'm sort of burnt out on long-n-involved games. At
least for now.

But I'll get to C2077 eventually, honest!



JAB

unread,
Aug 3, 2022, 4:04:45 AMAug 3
to
On 02/08/2022 18:54, Justisaur wrote:
> Still exclusively Cyberpunk 2077.
> Best. RPG. Ever.

I was looking forward to the release of this one but after reading the
first reviews thought, maybe best to wait until that actually finish it
first and hopeful it will also have come down in price.

The problem now is that I'm still not sure I'd like it that much. A
definite contributing factor to that is having got back into tabletop
RPG's it has reminded me of all the limitations of CRPG's. The top of
that list for me is I just feel a lack of agency that a DM can provide
with the end result being I find it difficult to really engage with a
CRPG character and get to that what would my character do mode of play.

None of that means it's not a good game (lot's of people seem to really
like it) but it's no longer my sort of game.

Saying all of that I am looking forward to Fallout: London if the dev's
get that feeling of just being able to wander off and do your own thing
environment that I enjoyed so much about FO:3/NV.

JAB

unread,
Aug 3, 2022, 4:12:17 AMAug 3
to
Well I did check my Steam activity as I couldn't remember what I had
played in July and the reason for that was I hadn't played anything.
Well not strictly true as I played what's basically the tutorial of
Citzen Sleeper (I'll wait before adding my comments on that one) and I
also noticed that I had bought Field of Glory II:Medieval but had
totally forgotten about it. That does break my New Year's resolution of
not buying a new game before putting at least ten hours into an old one,
ho hum.

I have re-read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
and almost finished The Truth by Terry Pratchett if that counts!

Justisaur

unread,
Aug 3, 2022, 10:38:19 AMAug 3
to
150 hours, probably 100 on the first play, and I left a lot of side missions
and gigs undone on that first play. Ones that seemed to have no connection
to the character, and I felt I was high enough at about level 40 for the final
missions, and I was, though they were tough.

I think I'm actually done at this point, leaving the 2nd play unfinished,
as I'd said the Corpo doesn't seem to have much connection to
anything, revenge maybe, self preservation too, but I've been playing
her as a cold hearted merc so she has no interest in revenge unless
it gets her something. I guess I just don't connect with cold-hearted
merc much.

I'm somewhat tempted to make another character to try out mantis
blades, or berzerking, but the combat isn't that interesting that it
warrants another play having played the missions I'm interested in.

So I'm on to the next game, whatever that is.

- Justisaur

Justisaur

unread,
Aug 3, 2022, 10:48:18 AMAug 3
to
On Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 1:04:45 AM UTC-7, JAB wrote:
> On 02/08/2022 18:54, Justisaur wrote:
> > Still exclusively Cyberpunk 2077.
> > Best. RPG. Ever.
> I was looking forward to the release of this one but after reading the
> first reviews thought, maybe best to wait until that actually finish it
> first and hopeful it will also have come down in price.
>
> The problem now is that I'm still not sure I'd like it that much. A
> definite contributing factor to that is having got back into tabletop
> RPG's it has reminded me of all the limitations of CRPG's. The top of
> that list for me is I just feel a lack of agency that a DM can provide
> with the end result being I find it difficult to really engage with a
> CRPG character and get to that what would my character do mode of play.

That aspect is fairly lacking in C2077, there's choices you can make,
but like many games most don't have any real impact. The ones you
make in the main story affects the ending (of which I've read there's quite
a number of) and some outside of that the postlog, but for the most part
not that much.

>
> None of that means it's not a good game (lot's of people seem to really
> like it) but it's no longer my sort of game.
>
> Saying all of that I am looking forward to Fallout: London if the dev's
> get that feeling of just being able to wander off and do your own thing
> environment that I enjoyed so much about FO:3/NV.

You can kind of do that, and if you turn off the gigs/side jobs on the map
you can stumble on them where you get called or texted when near them
but it's nowhere near the exploration of the Bethesda Fallouts, as most
locations aren't particularly interesting (at least to me.) It feels much
more mission based to me. If you bother to read all the stuff you find
some of that can be interesting, but after a point I found it too much
(like all the crap you can read in Elder Scrolls games.)

The main story and some side jobs is where it's at. I'm not usually
much into that, and much more interested in how varied the combat
is, but this game won me over with not vary varied combat and
a top notch story. It may not grab you though, everyone's different.

- Justisaur

Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 3, 2022, 2:17:49 PMAug 3
to
On Wed, 3 Aug 2022 09:12:14 +0100, JAB <no...@nochance.com> wrote:


>I have re-read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
>and almost finished The Truth by Terry Pratchett if that counts!

Maybe we could always expand the thread to "What Have You Been...
DOING... in July 2022?" ;-)

I enjoyed the "Dirk Gently" books, although I'd be hard pressed if I
can say why. I didn't love them though; I didn't find the characters
particularly likeable... well, not "likeable" (few Douglas Adams
characters are that)... but not engaging. Like many Adams books, it
was supposed to be funny because it was so weird... except, it wasn't
really that weird, so it lacked the dry humor that made his other
books so enjoyable.

Fun read; if you like that sort of thing you'll enjoy "Dirk Gently",
but it's not a rush-out-and-read sort of book.

Oddly enough, I've never warmed up to Terry Pratchett. You'd think I'd
adore the guy's writing - it's full of dry humor, uses a fantasy
setting, and Pratchett has a love for superfluous footnotes* - but I
never could get into his books (or any of the properties based off his
books).




------------------------------
* it seems an odd fetish to have, but what do I know? ;-)

Ant

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Aug 4, 2022, 1:00:11 AMAug 4
to
Speaking of Black Mesa, Xen is a beautiful scary world. :O


Ant <a...@zimage.comant> wrote:
> I briefly played Northgard, Hard West, Black Mesa, etc. Not playing much.


> Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
> > them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
> > let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
> > think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
> > dive right into the games.
> ...

--
RIP, Vin Scully. Xen is a beautiful scary world. Uh oh! Another war soon? Dang old bodies, aches, tiredness, peeing, pooping, etc. :( Quiet week again before a slammy next week?

JAB

unread,
Aug 4, 2022, 4:18:46 AMAug 4
to
On 03/08/2022 19:17, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
> On Wed, 3 Aug 2022 09:12:14 +0100, JAB <no...@nochance.com> wrote:
>
>
>> I have re-read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
>> and almost finished The Truth by Terry Pratchett if that counts!
>
> Maybe we could always expand the thread to "What Have You Been...
> DOING... in July 2022?" ;-)
>
> I enjoyed the "Dirk Gently" books, although I'd be hard pressed if I
> can say why. I didn't love them though; I didn't find the characters
> particularly likeable... well, not "likeable" (few Douglas Adams
> characters are that)... but not engaging. Like many Adams books, it
> was supposed to be funny because it was so weird... except, it wasn't
> really that weird, so it lacked the dry humor that made his other
> books so enjoyable.
>
> Fun read; if you like that sort of thing you'll enjoy "Dirk Gently",
> but it's not a rush-out-and-read sort of book.
>

There's lot of British comedies where the main characters aren't just
not particularly likeable but outright awful. I was kinda surprised that
the US version of The Office has been so successful as my expectation
was that it was going to be 'Americanised' so much that it would lose
the core of what made it funny. No, David Brent really is that awful and
that's why people 'like' him. See also Red Dwarf, Black Adder, Ad Fab,
Men Behaving Badly, The Young Ones, The Inbetweeners etc.

Anyway back to the books, I do like the two Dirk Gently books (the less
said about the TV series the better) even if I don't think they are
quite up to the standard of Hitch Hiker's. That's a pretty high bar to
met though and I wonder if he realised that he'd probably never reach
those heights again.

> Oddly enough, I've never warmed up to Terry Pratchett. You'd think I'd
> adore the guy's writing - it's full of dry humor, uses a fantasy
> setting, and Pratchett has a love for superfluous footnotes* - but I
> never could get into his books (or any of the properties based off his
> books).
>

I've read about ten Discworld novels and I like them all. One thing I do
think he was good at was basically taking a mirror to modern life and
placing it in a fantasy setting. So The Truth has a strong theme of not
just how important controlling the news is but that people are quite
happen just to believe things as long as they sound kinda right to them.
You've also got a murder mystery and a reformed Vampire.


JAB

unread,
Aug 5, 2022, 4:31:40 AMAug 5
to
The just go off and do your own thing is, I feel, one of the strengths
of CRPG's. Even the most dedicated world building GM or pre-written
extensive campaign module/setting just can't afford to put that much
content into a game that is going to be unused for a sizeable proportion
of its customers.

Spalls Hurgenson

unread,
Aug 5, 2022, 1:04:39 PMAug 5
to
On Fri, 5 Aug 2022 09:31:37 +0100, JAB <no...@nochance.com> wrote:

>The just go off and do your own thing is, I feel, one of the strengths
>of CRPG's. Even the most dedicated world building GM or pre-written
>extensive campaign module/setting just can't afford to put that much
>content into a game that is going to be unused for a sizeable proportion
>of its customers.

Oddly enough, I feel the oppoisute; the ability to "just go off and do
your own thing" is one of the strengths pen-n-paper role-playing games
have computer RPGs /because/ the GM can create on-the-fly, whereas the
computer is limited to its scripted adventures.

In fact - I think I've told this story before - I convinced a bunch of
friends to start tabletop gaming just to prove the point. They loved
CRPGs, and couldn't imagine how pen-n-paper could be any better. After
all, modern CRPGs have excellent visuals and huge gameworlds to
explore, and do a good job of disguising how much they railroad you.
But they humored my pleas to show them how much the freedom provided
by pen-n-paper gaming radically changes the experience that they
allowed me to lead them through a short adventure.

Long story short, they're now converts to table-top gaming ;-)

Admittedly, going off the beaten path can result in a drop in quality
as the GM scrambles to take into account the players' unexpected
change of direction... but a good GM will a) have developed enough of
the surrounding world to make it up as he goes, and b) either have the
talent or third-party resources nearby to slot in a new encounter
without much trouble. And let's face it, a lot of the "random"
off-the-path encounters in CRPGs are pretty weak too, often being
little better than stock monster encounters.

I love CRPGs; they have beautifully detailed and large worlds to
explore that often have hundreds of man-years invested in their
creation. But their limitations on what the player can (and more
importantly, cannot) do are why I also love pen-n-paper gaming more.

("Why no, Mr. CRPG, I don't want to trigger that very obvious and
unavoidable ambush I see ahead. Instead I think I'll jury rig some
climbing gear to scale these cliffs, the go around the bad guys and
push boulders down on them. What do you mean I can't do that?!?" ;-)


Justisaur

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Aug 5, 2022, 10:22:03 PMAug 5
to
On Friday, August 5, 2022 at 10:04:39 AM UTC-7, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
> On Fri, 5 Aug 2022 09:31:37 +0100, JAB <no...@nochance.com> wrote:

> Admittedly, going off the beaten path can result in a drop in quality
> as the GM scrambles to take into account the players' unexpected
> change of direction... but a good GM will a) have developed enough of
> the surrounding world to make it up as he goes, and b) either have the
> talent or third-party resources nearby to slot in a new encounter
> without much trouble. And let's face it, a lot of the "random"
> off-the-path encounters in CRPGs are pretty weak too, often being
> little better than stock monster encounters.

Procedural generation (i.e. random tables)
I love them, but I do add a touch beyond "here's 10 goblins."

Though I did drive players nuts one campaign where they were on
a quest to find something and travelling the world trying to find
it and it was 99% wilderness random encounters.

They did like it when they killed the penguin merchants mounted
on flying pigs taking their flying ship and load of treasure though. :)

- Justisaur

Dimensional Traveler

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Aug 5, 2022, 11:29:27 PMAug 5
to
We telling war stories?! This one isn't actually mine, its from a
friend. AD&D campaign with one humongus dungeon where a lot of the
action took place. First level was occupied by goblins. Originally
those sub-1 hit die sad sack slaughter by the hundred goblins. Except
these learned. After a while the players HATED the first level, always
trying to rush thru it to get deeper where it was safer dealing with
dragons and beholders.

See the goblins learned not to have a stand up fight with adventurers.
Maybe they learned from the VC, I dunno. They sniped. They laid traps.
They ambushed in dead ends. They were so good at it they scared
high-level parties.

My friend said it was the best campaign he ever played in. :D

JAB

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Aug 6, 2022, 6:04:56 AMAug 6
to
Oh don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that most CRPG's are good at it
but instead it is a strength of CRPG's (if that's the path that the devs
follow) over TT RPG's. I can't remember who said it but it was basically
the skill of a good GM is giving the players the appearance of totally
agency when it fact they are shuffled in the right direction.

My view is probably slightly biased as CoC isn't really amenable to just
doing what you want due to investigative nature. So yes a good GM will
need to be able to wing it but they also need to keep the players on the
right path. It's one of the reasons I eventually got bored of my last
group, the GM often used filler combat encounters basically as they
hadn't done enough prep. (if people really wanted combat then they
wouldn't be playing CoC) and also they weren't very good at keeping the
group at least vaguely on track which meant a lot of the time we didn't
have the first clue as to what we were supposed to be doing be instead
stumbled around.

In terms of local agency (the ability to approach a scene as you wish)
then yes TT RPG's are hands down winners as a real-life GM allows that
flexibility.

Anssi Saari

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Aug 6, 2022, 9:26:28 AMAug 6
to
Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:

> And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

Tried to get into Prey but I'm not sure. It didn't really grab me.

A little Borderlands 3, enough that I finished second playthrough with
my little mecha trooper. Still munchkin, which is kind of odd. Then
again, if the fights had been harder I would've quit.

Anssi Saari

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Aug 6, 2022, 9:59:56 AMAug 6
to
Justisaur <just...@gmail.com> writes:

> I don't want to get into spoilers here, I might save that for it's own
> thread but suffice it to say to those who love RPGs for the R, this
> is an absolute must buy even at full price. I'd also strongly
> suggest playing a male Nomad if you haven't.

Maybe it's worth a second playthrough. I played as female corpo but I
felt no connection to anything. Maybe I was asking for it playing corpo
though.

But I just found things in Cyberpunk 2077 mostly mediocre or
poor. Combat was OK to me, by the numbers cover shooter. Skill tree was
more of a thorny bush where I had no idea where to put points. Didn't
seem to matter much though.

Writing was mostly meh where the interesting bits were mostly
yesterday's cyberpunk tropes warmed over.

Spalls Hurgenson

unread,
Aug 6, 2022, 1:19:49 PMAug 6
to
On Sat, 06 Aug 2022 16:26:24 +0300, Anssi Saari <a...@sci.fi> wrote:

>Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:
>> And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?

>Tried to get into Prey but I'm not sure. It didn't really grab me.

Prey (2006) or Prey (2017)?

Ehn, it doesn't matter. I didn't warm up to either game.

But both had their moments; the 2006 game was imaginative, had some
interesting visuals and its portal technology was a neat gimmick for
its time. But it's story was silly and I couldn't engage with its
gunplay. It was - at best - an average game, even when new, and it
hasn't aged well in the decade-plus since its release.

The 2017 game was... well, it was an Arkane Studios game, and I've
never really been able to get into them. But I think that's more an
issue of taste than a fault with the game; I can understand why some
people rave about it even if I don't feel the same emotion. It's
partly the art style, partly the over-reliance on "sandbox combat"
(e.g., all the obvious spikes and pits and oil pools that you can
trigger as traps during a fight), and partly the low-key plot heavily
dependent on your scrounging all the hidden audio-logs to make sense
of it all.* I played - and finished - "Prey (2017)" but it was a real
struggle for me to keep going to the end.



-------------------
* God, I hate this trope. I was novel in 1995 when System Shock did
it, but it's so, so tired now. If I never had to read another
audio-log again, I'd be happy.

Ant

unread,
Aug 6, 2022, 8:11:49 PMAug 6
to
And frakkin long! Gonarch's Lair is pretty, huge, and long! :O


Ant <a...@zimage.comant> wrote:
> Speaking of Black Mesa, Xen is a beautiful scary world. :O


> Ant <a...@zimage.comant> wrote:
> > I briefly played Northgard, Hard West, Black Mesa, etc. Not playing much.


> > Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > > Argh... the hardest part of these threads is thinking on how to start
> > > them. There's only so many ways I can say "a month has just ended so
> > > let's list the games we've played", and over the past decade-plus, I
> > > think I've used most of them. So let's skip the small-talk and just
> > > dive right into the games.
...
--
Xen is a beautiful scary world! Uh oh! Another war soon? Dang old leaks, spams, bodies, crashes, etc. :( Quiet week again before a slammy next week?

Anssi Saari

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Aug 7, 2022, 4:19:06 AMAug 7
to
Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:

> On Sat, 06 Aug 2022 16:26:24 +0300, Anssi Saari <a...@sci.fi> wrote:
>
>>Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:
>>> And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?
>
>>Tried to get into Prey but I'm not sure. It didn't really grab me.
>
> Prey (2006) or Prey (2017)?
>
> Ehn, it doesn't matter. I didn't warm up to either game.

The 2017 Prey. May have been a freebie recently, EPIC maybe?

As for the 2006 game, I played it back when, I should have it
somewhere. I remember it was praised for the licensed sound track, I
think I actually went back and played the tunes in the bar's jukebox
where the game begins.

Unfortunately that was the only place in the game where you could play
them. Really too bad, playing "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" during a
fight scene might've made the game a little more memorable. I can't
remember much about the game, a boss fight against your player's
cyborgified girlfriend stands out though.

> The 2017 game was... well, it was an Arkane Studios game, and I've
> never really been able to get into them.

Oh, right, Arkane. I've tried that famousish steampunk game from them
but it didn't really grab me either. Maybe it's the "too weird" factor
although as I recall Dishonored starts with fairly basic swordplay. But
I'm not really a fan of that any more than steampunk.

> But I think that's more an issue of taste than a fault with the game;
> I can understand why some people rave about it even if I don't feel
> the same emotion. It's partly the art style, partly the over-reliance
> on "sandbox combat" (e.g., all the obvious spikes and pits and oil
> pools that you can trigger as traps during a fight)

I understand that. It seemed silly in some Mass Effect game (2?) when
you could just tell you're going to be attacked by the shape of the area
you were entering. Convenient cover sprinkled all around a large arena
was typical.

I remember another silly shooter where you could kick your enemies into
spikes or alien man eating plants or whatever environmental hazards had
been conveniently placed everywhere. It kinda makes me feel the devs
think I'm stupid or maybe they're just trying too hard. Environmental
hazards here and there, sure, but not everywhere. Another annoying trope
is magically everything proof pipes that break only at certain
points. But I guess more than minimally destructible structures are
still way too hard to really implement in a game engine.

> * God, I hate this trope. I was novel in 1995 when System Shock did
> it, but it's so, so tired now. If I never had to read another
> audio-log again, I'd be happy.

I remember I got extremely bored in SS2 when I tried to play it on the
hardest difficulty. Audio logs at least relieved the tedium so I had
something game related to listen to while I scrounged through every desk
drawer and cabinet for what little supplies I could find at that
difficulty. I don't think I finished that playthrough. But, I haven't
played the original System Shock much, maybe when the remake comes out.

JAB

unread,
Aug 7, 2022, 5:19:03 AMAug 7
to
On 07/08/2022 09:19, Anssi Saari wrote:
> Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> On Sat, 06 Aug 2022 16:26:24 +0300, Anssi Saari <a...@sci.fi> wrote:
>>
>>> Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:
>>>> And you? What Have You Been Playing... IN JULY 2022?
>>
>>> Tried to get into Prey but I'm not sure. It didn't really grab me.
>>
>> Prey (2006) or Prey (2017)?
>>
>> Ehn, it doesn't matter. I didn't warm up to either game.
>
> The 2017 Prey. May have been a freebie recently, EPIC maybe?
>

I got that in a sale as it seemed to have a set of ingredients that I
thought I'd like but nope just didn't click with me.
I tend to agree, the first few times it's rather novel but that quickly
wears off. It's something that put me off Divinity: Original Sin,
environmental combat which pretty common but was mostly fire, ice etc.
and exploding barrels.

Spalls Hurgenson

unread,
Aug 7, 2022, 1:17:09 PMAug 7
to
On Sun, 07 Aug 2022 11:19:03 +0300, Anssi Saari <a...@sci.fi> wrote:
>Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:

>I understand that. It seemed silly in some Mass Effect game (2?) when
>you could just tell you're going to be attacked by the shape of the area
>you were entering. Convenient cover sprinkled all around a large arena
>was typical.

Oh look, waist-high blocks everywhere! Everybody heal up before
entering because a battle will soon ensue! Yeah, that was a problem
with a lot of games in the late 2000s/mid 2010s (it still is, to a
degree, but it's better disguised nowadays).

>I remember another silly shooter where you could kick your enemies into
>spikes or alien man eating plants or whatever environmental hazards had
>been conveniently placed everywhere. It kinda makes me feel the devs
>think I'm stupid or maybe they're just trying too hard. Environmental
>hazards here and there, sure, but not everywhere. Another annoying trope
>is magically everything proof pipes that break only at certain
>points. But I guess more than minimally destructible structures are
>still way too hard to really implement in a game engine.

I was originally going to say, "Oh, you mean Dark Messiah of Might &
Magic" (which was also an Arkane game), as that game was /rife/ with
far-too-obvious environmental traps... then I put together "silly" and
"man-eating plants" and realized you must be thinking of
"Bulletstorm".

>> * God, I hate this trope. I was novel in 1995 when System Shock did
>> it, but it's so, so tired now. If I never had to read another
>> audio-log again, I'd be happy.

>I remember I got extremely bored in SS2 when I tried to play it on the
>hardest difficulty. Audio logs at least relieved the tedium so I had
>something game related to listen to while I scrounged through every desk
>drawer and cabinet for what little supplies I could find at that
>difficulty. I don't think I finished that playthrough. But, I haven't
>played the original System Shock much, maybe when the remake comes out.

I don't have a problem with audio logs per se. They were wonderfully
used in System Shock 1/2. My problem with them is that they are
overused. System Shock put them in because the developers didn't have
the resources to create proper NPCs, and that was the only way to feed
players information (it also enhanced the post-apocalyptic feel of the
setting). But in a lot of games, they're used as a lazy way to provide
backstory, and often the only way to understand the plot is if you
rigorously scour the levels to find every log. This absolutely
destroys the pacing and narrative.

Especially bad are audio logs that you can't listen to while walking
around, and either have to listen through the game's interface
("Aliens vs Predator" 2010 suffered from this problem), or stay in one
place because the audio is tied to a specific point.

Audio-logs are a terrific tool, but they require a lot more skill and
subtlety than most developers have (or care to develop).


rms

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Aug 7, 2022, 6:53:45 PMAug 7
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>I remember another silly shooter where you could kick your enemies into
>spikes or alien man eating plants or whatever environmental hazards had
>been conveniently placed everywhere.

Bulletstorm. I liked that game :( and both Preys as well (the new Hulu
movie Prey is very good too!)

rms

JAB

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Aug 8, 2022, 4:28:24 AMAug 8
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Personally I'm not a big fan of random encounters in general and instead
prefer the GM to have a number of non-plot encounters/scenes that can
then be used to add colour to the world as required.

As always, horses for courses and all that!

Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 8, 2022, 12:15:25 PMAug 8
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My random encounters tend to be more of the latter. It's almost never
"roll d20, get a 6, oh 3d6 goblins attack" but an entire pre-arranged
mini-scenario from a list of similar mini-scenarios that I just happen
to randomly select.

Most of them aren't combat scenarios either. A lot of them are used
for world-building or setting the mood: anything from a rumor-carrying
bard to an ominous storm to a farmstead burnt during a civil war.

Creating the random encounters is actually one of the best parts of
the adventure for me. ;-)


Anssi Saari

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Aug 9, 2022, 3:14:09 AMAug 9
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Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:

> I was originally going to say, "Oh, you mean Dark Messiah of Might &
> Magic" (which was also an Arkane game), as that game was /rife/ with
> far-too-obvious environmental traps... then I put together "silly" and
> "man-eating plants" and realized you must be thinking of
> "Bulletstorm".

Thanks, I couldn't dig the name Bulletstorm out of my head just
then. While it was silly I did like the mouse-guidable sniper rounds
though. You'd think it gets old but no, at least not in one playthrough.

> But in a lot of games, they're used as a lazy way to provide
> backstory, and often the only way to understand the plot is if you
> rigorously scour the levels to find every log. This absolutely
> destroys the pacing and narrative.

I get it. One game that comes to mind was that FPS puzzler Talos
Principle. I had little idea what was going on (other than the puzzles)
but apparently it's possible to find out, from reading enough people's
emails in the various terminals scattered around the landscape. No idea
why those are there, come to think of it. And those were text only, not
audio logs.

JAB

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Aug 9, 2022, 6:07:09 AMAug 9
to
For me that's how I prefer 'random' encounters to be. Really they are
about adding colour and they aren't really random. The normal caveat of
that doesn't mean I think your average random encounter is wrong but
instead it's not something I enjoy.


JAB

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Aug 9, 2022, 6:15:44 AMAug 9
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On 09/08/2022 08:14, Anssi Saari wrote:
> Spalls Hurgenson <spallsh...@gmail.com> writes:
>> But in a lot of games, they're used as a lazy way to provide
>> backstory, and often the only way to understand the plot is if you
>> rigorously scour the levels to find every log. This absolutely
>> destroys the pacing and narrative.
>
> I get it. One game that comes to mind was that FPS puzzler Talos
> Principle. I had little idea what was going on (other than the puzzles)
> but apparently it's possible to find out, from reading enough people's
> emails in the various terminals scattered around the landscape. No idea
> why those are there, come to think of it. And those were text only, not
> audio logs.

Talos Principle is a bit of a weird one as there are some audio logs
that try and explain the back story but there's also the text based
terminals. I actually really enjoyed those as they are not really
backstory but instead raising questions about what it means to be human.

So if you can create an AI that has self-consciousness, emotions, wants,
needs etc. the same as humans should it be considered human. If not does
that entail a non-materialist world in what makes us human is because we
alone have souls and a AI will never have that. It also touches on
religion, so would this AI consider its creators god(s) and worship it.
It's not often you see game designers touching on philosophy.

The good thing is, if you want you can ignore all of that and just treat
it as a damn fine puzzle game.

Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 9, 2022, 1:29:19 PMAug 9
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In truth, my 'random encounters' are only semi-random. I have a huge
list of the things (when writing adventures, I tend to reuse earlier
encounters and the list just gets longer and longer). The dice rolls
are ridiculous sometimes (e.g., "to pick a random encounter, first
roll: 2d100 + 1d20 + 1d6" :)

Except even then, I usually do the initial roll... read the result
from the list, decide that particular encounter /doesn't quite fit/
the situation, then close my eyes and point at another encounter,
repeating until I find one that does seem appropriate.

As mentioned, most of those encounters aren't combat related. Some of
them barely count as 'encounters'; for instance, one might be
something as simple as the forest going suddenly, eerily quiet for ten
minutes: no bugs, no birds, scampering animals underfoot no longer
scampering, everything seems muted and there's an underlying feeling
of wrongness... which then suddenly just passes. There's no reason for
it, nothing the PCs can detect or do about it... it's just there to
set mood.

Although, given how deadly I tend to make combat, the lack of frequent
combat encounters is usually a boon to players. As a GM, I /really/
hate killing PCs and actually go out of my way to avoid it... but I
will wreck them up. I give my monsters every advantage and they're
usually highly mobile; rarely will a a party face off against a static
line of foes. Even the lowliest monsters can wreak havoc on a party;
its unlikely they'll kill them, but they'll do enough damage that the
party will have to take steps to recover. And healing magic isn't as
accessible in my campaigns as others...







Spalls Hurgenson

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Aug 9, 2022, 1:34:52 PMAug 9
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On Tue, 09 Aug 2022 10:14:07 +0300, Anssi Saari <a...@sci.fi> wrote:

>Thanks, I couldn't dig the name Bulletstorm out of my head just
>then. While it was silly I did like the mouse-guidable sniper rounds
>though. You'd think it gets old but no, at least not in one playthrough.

I wasn't as much of a fan of the game. It had some impressive
set-pieces (the giant rolling death wheel tearing through the terrain,
for instance) and conceptually some of the weapons were interesting,
but the story was awful, I remember being unimpressed by the monsters
and the almost frat-boy level of humor has never appealed to me. Even
barring the humor, I never found the game to be better than average,
and -IIRC - it leaned too heavily on the cover-shooter mechanics that
were popular at the time. I tolerated the game long enough to get to
the end, but I've never had a desire to go back and play it a second
time.




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