Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About evildoc

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  1. Episode 326: State of the RTS

    I'm in that boat as well. Think there really is something to the LAN'ness coallescing a group around these games. Now that I think about it, anyone I knew from back in the day has dropped RTSs and either gone full Lords/esport or moved over to board gaming. For me, the board games provide the same group tension, competition, and faffing about with units and builds without the RSI. And maybe its just old-man-shouts-at-clouds, but I have a hard time even comparing pre-always-on Internet tech RTSs to the current itterations. Yes, Dr Geryk's 2001(!!) "harvest, build, destroy" definition still holds.... but man, go look at a screenshot of Dune II! I have heavier cognitive load "casual" games on my iPhone. Not even sure StarCraft is much heavier than Dune, we all just refined our play of it for a decade. Glancing back thru chronologies, there's this crazy leap around 2005-6 for RTS ux/meta. Stacked on the rise of the gaming PCs maybe? It's like the jump flight and racing games took in the 90's kicking off all the filthy casuals. That mention of SC1 still having higher rates than SC2 sure sounds like a complexity wall. p.s. Holy 2000's nostalgia! Someone tell me Homeworld:Shipbreaker isn't a mirage.
  2. Episode 264: Building vs Battle

    Superb episode and a great topic! Really enjoyed the initial ponderings on base assumptions ... Thoughts of a unitless Ciz, guh, so tastey! For a current board game that has an intersting take on blending building and battle, I'd suggest taking a look at Nations (BGG). Military is bought and operated same as other infrastructure and provides some victory points. Most directly, your military strength determines which neutral colonies you can conquer or battle events you can use. Those function as long or short term miltary to economic resource converters. While there is no direct player to player conflict, the shared auction pool has war events that involve all players. The fun bit is the person starting the war sets the relative military value that other players need to beat to avoid ill effects from war. That abstraction dodges a number of the issues. Warmongers can go all in on military without players feeling personally persecuted. That war attriton can totally wreck carefully balanced economic engines and knock leaders back. Yet your own wars can backfire if you suddenly need the resources elsewhere. Cautious players can kneecap overly aggressive ones by starting wars themselves, setting the military value low at the cost of expended actions and money. And you can convert between agressive postures without feeling like you're wasting time. It even encourages a bit of flip flop to grab long term military benefits, oh so manifest destinied. For me it does a great job of capturing "oh... shit" moments of more conflict-based games. Seeing someone ramp up their military, wondering if its for an easy territory grab or to burn everyone down to the ground... and wrestling with what I plan on doing about it. Military wins aren't giant maths exercises but still require some logistical finagling, and allow for personal interactions. Succesfully bluffing going to war is a great feeling. Definitely less 7 Wonders and more Cyclades. But, eh, no hexgrid or pushing tanks around. Some might argue it doesn't qualify as a battler at all. I'd disagree, but I can see the argument.
  3. Episode 213: On Campaign

    Indeed, and depicted in the weirdest ways. The congo line of troops spewing out of tiny huts jogging over to the mob of idling vehicles nudging each other bums me out eventually. Not the mechanics, but the disonance with the theme. Multiplayer/skirmishes make that burn out happen faster for me, why I stick to campaigns only. Other than Homeworld (yep, ships persist), I was trying to think of games that were RTS'ey but didn't invovle heavy base or build-queue cycles. Of course, Close Combat! Not much strategy in the campaign, and no narrative what so ever. Yet a decade on I remember emergent stories from both single player and the occasional office-lan multiplay. Might be the inclusion of the morale system or the slight abstractions built into the unit-orders systems. Something about not having click-perfect response makes it more memorable when things go horribly good or bad. Always seemed strange more games didn't try the squad level scale with linked battles to tell a story. I was going to say FTL might be the best spiritual succesor to CC, but turns out Slitherines still developoing CC. Whoa, ze blood!
  4. Episode 182: Three's a Crowdsourcing

    Regarding fulfillment risks, Nathan Seidle of Sparkfun recently gave a talk about his expereinces with 'the pit of dispair'. Projects that succeed but not enough to become a whole different category of success and the pain that follows (vid of the talk ). It's electronics focused, but reminded me of the Little Metal Dog Show conversation on Game Salute's Springboard. Troy is not alone thinking the KS business model has issues, but people are trying to make it better.I also don't know if I buy into Bogost's QVC-fever-dream angle (and no, I didn't buy in on an Ouya). I still think of my backings as patronage. Maybe thats the wrong word. I understand the contract I'm getting into. I am aware the output of individual Kickstarters may and will suck. However, I also know that my $20 aggregated with others means somone is able to quit their day job for a while and go work on some project. Doing that, they'll attempt interesting things, pick up practical expereinces, and push the state of the art a little further along. My day job involves managing a giant stack of software that all began as quiet little projects, so I'm sticking with my romanticism for a little while longer.
  5. Be careful with that. Handed mine Civ IV when he was recouping from a back injury. Later he slid over to Total War after asking if I thought it was any good. I've come to find out recently he's mumorpagah'ing furiously and racking more gamer hours than me. And that's the problem with gateways, never quite sure where folks are gonna go after the gate.
  6. Unity of Command

    Worse still, Unity also uses prestige as a secondary scoring metric. The presentation does everything short of saying "don't use it!" on the tool tip. Feels a very intentional design choice. They could have buried the numbers, used reinforcements differently when succeeding wildly/failing miserably thru a campaign, etc. I've found the only thing for me to trump hording is in-game goals. I'll gladly hand over the 92 health potions I've stashed since the start of the game for a 1% stat boost or making some faction happy with me. Even when the maths all stupid against, I'm a sucker for permanent perks. Not sure if thats a permanent loss corollary or just quest hoarding. In UoC, if burning prestige deploying a unit did something additional... change the cost of future units or hitting certain target levels opened different units up on the following scenarios, I would pay more attention to it. Definitely not good enough at the game to be invested in a grognard score chase.
  7. Argh, the posting restrictions

    Fi! There goes my clever plan of bitching in enough threads to meet future minimum requirements! It's all old testament in here, fierce and ever fickle. Sorry to pick any scabs, know too well how it goes with software legacies. Count me a beta meat shield volunteer as the future approaches.
  8. Ooo oo! NHex was my ipad-as-boardgame-device gateway drug. It's a fabulous tactics game, very clean, and the ui is very satisfying. Oh, and the new armies expansion are worth it as well. Still playing it weekly. Without any over-world strategy map or persistence mechanisms, it's stuck being a quick match game. Don't think they'd rev the digital past the RL game. My only real gripe with it is the leader board is pegged to all-time score totals. It also makes me want the ancient pc game Chaos Overlords to get ported to the pad already.
  9. Argh, the posting restrictions

    They confuse and burn! I've read the faq and done the hello-thread wave, even replied things over in 3MA land, and still get shunted off to moderation space in some places. Apparently my post count is low. I'm not sure how low, but granted not high. Or, my posts suck and maybe this is just a hint I should shut up already. I'm not sure. Or maybe I'm just lame and missing some vital step. I thought to PM someone and ask... but my post count is too low to PM. *facepalm* So, yeah, I hereby volunteer myself to any efforts to document/explain/test said strange states for the benefits of all noob-kind.
  10. Idle Thumbs Progresscast #9

    Clearly you've never listened to Thumb Lazy!! Super Megacast Show! Photos smuggled out at great risk to conscripted muppets. Pictured, show producers contemplate adding more bird sound to the popular Mega Wizard Missile Success segment.
  11. Alpha Centauri did a fine job of this... memories of spiraling into a catastrophic war with a neighbor because I didn't notice my terraforming essentially made the Sierra Nevadas and caused desertification throughout their settled area. My wish would be a game that gets away from the total informational awareness/control thing. Not just more fog of war, but level of detail and interaction restraints. Making more things hands-off in interesting ways. On the grand strategy, going to war by crossing a unit across the dotted line seems oddly reversed. Especially in games where I can pick the exact armament of the basic soldier, but receive no friction from anyone when issuing idiotic/homicidal orders until after. Operationally, I'd love to play essentially a battle report map. Be able to draw lines for attacks and defense points, and point at objectives. Having fronts be more ambiguous and analog, where its a representation of a goal. Putting some reason behind decisions, have some articulation of intent in-game. Tactically, having those higher decisions filter down, but avoiding spreadsheet hell… my conscript army of terrified peasants can't actually follow the battle plan because my policies decisions have left them illiterate, starving, and armed with sticks. Oh well, too late now. Recently, Unity of Command made me really excited with its territory/supply mechanisms. Peeling off units to nab a rail station while the main force press on with dwindling supplies feels great. It's simple and abstracted, but its a meaningful decision. Want that pushed up into a bigger space, with more fire-and-forget moments, that can lead to long unintended consequences…. and doesn't, you know, suck. You said finger snapping.
  12. Idle Thumbs Progresscast #9

    "There's three North Korean versions of us..." Clearly, you've never listened to "Thumb Lazy!! Super Baboo Megacast!" Recent on-set photography smuggled out at great risk to several conscripted muppets. Pictured, lead producer considers the inclusion of more bird sound to pep up the hugely popular Mega Wizard Missile Successes segment.
  13. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Now you're just baiting me... ... I am weak. Oh, and balls.
  14. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hi all, new meat here. Just, you know. Hi. ... the smilies here confuse and scare me. < I predict this forum will make you cry by 2013. You got to cool that sh#t out. >