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Everything posted by ShadowTiger

  1. Episode 402: Battle Brothers

    I have had my eye on this game since it launched on early access, but now that I know its finished development I will put it in my queue. I think the game does a really good job making a modern tactical RPG. The tight focus around the combat is very good for the game, and the mechanics, including customization/equipment are very well done. I do think it is a little too random (I hate random level ups) but I can get over that. One thing you didn't discuss too much is the injury model, which I think is something I would like to see explored more in games. I was even imagining what it would be like to have a game where there are no hit points, only wounds/injuries. I do think its unfortunate that there are no female characters, unlike other games like X-Com and Expedition Conquistadors. I think its interesting that often times developers think that having diversity needs to be extra work... it doesn't have to be. They don't need to have unique backgrounds or a bunch of aesthetic variations, they are overthinking it. Just a few different skin tones or adding in some tomboy female fighters wouldn't break the bank.
  2. 3MA has a Patreon

    Those poll choices are all very good... I hope at least second place carries over to next month!
  3. Episode 328: King of Dragon Pass

    I really enjoyed playing KODP. I had a very warlike clan and I aggressively raided my neighbors and expanded my borders. I had around 50+ weaponthanes and plenty of cows and silver goods from trading and finding resources with explorers. I loved creating a blood feud with another clan and forcing them to move away in defeat. Then later I accepted a truce and we became allies, with them being instrumental in convincing other clans to form a tribe. Also, I always screw over the duck people, I just can't take them seriously being raised with Ducktales. Another thing I like about the game is how you learn it over multiple play throughs. Eventually you figure out... oh our children grew beards? I know how to handle that. I guess thats a sign of a good strategy game. It was a bit frustrating when I ran into two major issues though. 1. There is a random event that gives you a choice to be allies or enemies with another faction. If you choose to be enemies, they basically wipe you out and its game over. This felt a bit odd to me, as I was doing very well and close to finishing the game. I could either just shrug and start over, or reload and choose to go against my ancestors in order to survive. I didn't like that there wasn't even a battle, I just lost 80% of my clan. 2. There seems to be a general loss of talent as the game goes on. You start out with very skilled clan nobles but as they get old and die you are left empty handed. I found that I had fewer nobles coming of age than were dying, and their skills were all very average. Maybe I was trying to win too quickly and needed to wait another 5 or 10 years for my children (50% of my population) to come of age. Perhaps you are supposed to use Hero Quests to level up your nobles but considering you typically only do that every other year I feel like it would be slow going. Perhaps I just need to learn the system better. I think what makes the game really shine is all the different elements of the game that support eachother. The management system for your farmers, workers, and warriors gets a little tedious after a while, but it is really important to keep your resources balanced. This is because you need resources to get favorable outcomes in random encounters as well as to give sacrifices to the gods and build temples. The sacrifices can help turn the odds in battle, as well as feed the powerful warriors. The warriors are needed to keep your resources safe and to plunder from other tribes. Basically everything is connected and mirrors the seasonal rotation. The mechanics and theme are so intertwined that it immerses you in the world and make you want to actually read through the manual and lore sections to succeed at the game. Its no surprise then, that KODP is an inspiration for the game I am working on!
  4. 3MA has a Patreon

    I could be spiteful and go on a rant "its about time" but instead I will up my monthly pledge to compensate for all the great content across 300+ episodes! I haven't had as much time recently but I do catch the podcast when it covers games I care about. Those are usually 4x or RTS games... the Historical Wargames and LoL talk usually goes over my head. Can't wait for the next podcast... I think it might be King of Dragon Pass related!!!
  5. Episode 274: Mail call!

    I would give $5 / month on patreon without second thought.
  6. Smaller game will make it much more likely to succeed. At this point a free for all might be best *shrugs*
  7. I think some amount of planning should happen or else you can really mess things up. For example, if both teammates choose avatars that can't move, they will have a hard time capturing thrones (unless they also choose magic that allows such movement). Only one of the factions in the list has a level 3 priest that they can hire (which can also capture thrones). Since this game will go on for months, I suggest we allow plenty of preparation so nobody feels like quitting half-way through because they made bad starting choices.
  8. It looks like we are going with Vanheim(Troy)/Helheim(ShadowTiger)
  9. I'm ready for this weekend. Should be fun!
  10. I would like to join. I never played Dom 3 but I had a blast with 4 over the last 2 weeks. I guess it should be a disciples game since there will be lots of people, maybe teams of 2? I think it is cool to pick races that are thematically similar. 2 nations that like warm weather or two nations that have the same cultural inspiration. I generally don't like the wrap around maps just because they are confusing to scroll around.
  11. Episode 239: A Blizzard of Enthusiasm

    If you haven't already, look up some manuals for Warcraft 1, Arcanum, Baldur's Gate, and you will see how awesome the writing and presentation used to be. Yes, you can present the in-game lore through the gameplay, but sometimes that just doesn't work. If a game has a particular narrative style, the manual is a great way to flesh out the world in a different way. I collect video game manuals for every game I play (alas many games don't even make them anymore), and the classic ones are a blast to read through once in a while. Certain strategy guides are also awesome, with Master of Magic and Civilization being prime examples. The key to a good manual is not merely having information you need to play the game... that is just a market requirement. You need to put love, thought, creativity, and a good writer & artist working together to create something special. Every game can benefit from a well designed manual, especially now that tutorials and gameplay help no longer need to be a major part of it.
  12. Episode 239: A Blizzard of Enthusiasm

    @hexgrid, I actually agree for the most part. I never really enjoyed most of the base building RTS games that much. However, I have sunk hundreds of hours into Starcraft and Warcraft 3 based on the editor. Custom maps are so much fun, both to play and make! There is so much variety, chances are you will find several game types you really enjoy.
  13. Episode 239: A Blizzard of Enthusiasm

    I used to be really big into custom maps for blizzard games but the issues with the launch of SC2 caused me to feel like its a waste of time. Another big issue is that making something in Starcraft 2 inherently takes 10 times as along as making something in Warcraft 3. If you want to do something complex it needs a team of developers or a huge time investment. I haven't looked at it recently, but someone would need to make tools that streamline the process. Diablo 3 was a big disappointment. I can believe they have the gall to say the auction house was a mistake but online only wasn't a mistake. I remember reading that 80% of people played Diablo 2 single player only. I played it both offline and online with some friends, but with friends you don't have to worry about hacking/cheating, so that argument is BS. Also, about 60% of the enjoyment I got out of Diablo 2 was from using the item editor to make my own items and run around in hell with "8 player" difficulty and whack people with my weapon of 100% chance to cast level 40 meteor on strike. I didn't play too much with mods but the LotR mod for Diablo 2 was really cool because it re-arranged the acts and changed most skills and items. Similarly in Borderlands, which sold just fine without online only DRM, I had a bunch of fun with item editors and even exchanged illegal items with friends because it is an awesome way to spice up the max level end game. Unfortunatly they patched the game to prevent you from mixing different gun parts which was very disappointing. (I had a sniper rifle that shot 14 bullets by mixing in a revolver part, as well as an alien gun that shot a giant ball of energy for 2000 points of damage by mixing in a rocket part). I really hate it when game developers take away toys from players in order to "secure the online environment." Again, people are mostly playing these games offline, its a very simple math equation to figure out which audience to cater towards. I am really looking forward to Warcraft 4 anyways, and Lords Managements are not really my thing. Did anyone play the original DotA back before Frozen Throne came out? The reason why DotA became popular was because it was one of the few maps that had custom hero skills before Frozen Throne enabled that natively. Basically you had to extract out the game data from the map file, edit it, and then re-import it. The game has really changed greatly since then but its cool knowing that I was there for the beginning (where I still had the same conclusion: Meh).
  14. Episode 213: On Campaign

    As a developer of a non-basebuilding RTS (its a tactical card game) I can say we had to deal with many of these issues. At first, the single player campaign was created to replace the awful tutorial we made. It ended up turning into a really cool story that influences the battles. The campaign is totally different from the multiplayer. The designer had lots of fun throwing a bunch of stuff at the player that is unbalanced either for or against the player and it enhances the story telling in some cases. It also has a cool system where your main character can buy new skills after each mission and swap them out, which can really change your strategy from mission to mission. Luckily for us, the multiplayer and skirmish is identical. I had to write the AI for that... well its still a work in progress. It plays the game fine but I have to code instructions for using over hundred unique abilities and also how to counter an opponent using them. I put in things like user-adjustable reaction time as well as an APM cap so you can limit the AI's micro advantage over you and play more of a strategic game. We also have plans for a puzzle mode where you solve literal puzzles that are turn based and all about using your brain. Then there is challenge mode, where you have to try and find the perfect combination of cards and strategy so you can defeat a scripted scenario. So yeah, I am glad that we managed to get the right balance for our game. The campaign is not revolutionary or anything but its well constructed in my opinion, I find it pretty addictive, and because its all 2D graphics the in-battle cut scenes are identical to the out of game cut scenes, making it immersive and seamless. In general I buy RTS games to play single player, about 50/50 between campaign and skirmish. I like campaigns because of interesting mission design... not because of the story. I would prefer if there was no story and there was just a sequence of missions and the only thing tying it together was progression in the form of a tech tree, RPG mechanics, especially veteran units. I loved Warlords Battlecry 2... that game is awesome! I also like Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Oh yeah... and my favorite part about RTS's is modding. C&C games were super easy and fun to mod... in Generals I created several units that were very similar to those added in the expansion pack Zero Hour.
  15. Episode 212: Set Disruptors to Acts of God

    Shooting the Moon is kind of like casting the spell of mastery in in Master of Magic... how disruptive it is depends on whether you get caught out of position. I am a little bit confused... it seems like what you are looking for is a sweet spot between having a big change in the came that you can adjust for but isn't routine or easy enough to adapt to that it becomes just another part of the game.
  16. I am only halfway through but the discussion about the problem of early gameplay in the 4x genre was very interesting. I made a blog post about it. To summarize, I will provide an excerpt: I think the reason why 4x games lose some of their charm and appeal after leaving the early stages of the game is that they are modeled to closely to wargames and warlike history. If you want a 4x game where you spend the entire game exploring and discovering new things without bumping into borders, obstacles, and wandering monsters, then you need to change the entire mood of the game. Instead of it being an inevitable slog towards victory as you fight countless battles with your war machine, the endgame needs to be revised totally. You could make the objective to save your civilization from the wrath of an angry god by making sufficient sacrifices and heroic feats. You could have the game be about becoming the richest and most influential intergalactic corporation that controls governments like puppets and can change the fate of the whole galaxy. More at: http://www.shadowtig.../newidea4x.html
  17. I thought I should update after playing the game. First of all, I got primed on the game by watching (not super focused, it was in the background while I worked) someone play through the game 8 times on youtube. It really helped understand how all the systems worked and what the basic strategy was. It did not spoil very much, except for showing me the boss battle and what gear is necessary to stand a chance. I have only been playing on Easy, so the extra scrap makes the game more fun. You get to fully upgrade your ship, buy most of the cool goodies you see, and experience the full battle potential of your ship if you make it to the end. I managed to beat the game on my first go, and I have a 50% success rate out of 4 games. If you consider getting to the boss a success, which I sort of do, then 75%! The game is very fun, but only if you have a good combination of gear that works. If you don't have a way to deal with enemy missiles or a way to pierce heavy shields, the battles are frustrating. Occasionally you can get stuck against a powerful enemy that rips you apart before you have a chance to escape, but that is thankfully pretty rare. It is much more satisfying when you get slowly beaten down by consecutive battles and die before you get to a repair point, in my opinion. As I expected, playing as the Stealth ship was the most fun for me, though once I got the hang of the Engi's Ion + Drones strategy is was kind of fun. I was lucky that I unlocked several of the ships quickly, and without needing a walkthrough (which I plan to use for the most difficult unlocks). Stealth makes the game very easy, as does the ion bombs. A little re-balancing might be needed. I guess the nicest thing about the game is that I don't really have a strong urge to save/reload like I do in most games. Everything is expendable, I even stopped naming my crewmen and ship (though thats partially because you can't rename new recruits). Yeah it sucks if you lose someone with experience but since your ship systems can't get permanently damaged most of your progress is secure. Compared to roguelikes where your awesome magic items regularly get damaged or destroyed by monsters, its very easy to swallow. Sorry crewmen! The combat is very hectic and requires intensive multitasking to both keep your ship in order and wreak chaos upon the enemy. I found myself not using the pause feature enough and letting my guys die from negligence or forgetting to shoot my weapons. I think I was accurate in saying that it is an optimization puzzle, but the atmosphere and extra mechanics make it a fun puzzle, at least for the first few hours. I have pretty much gotten down the timings of enemy attacks as well as how to cripple an enemy ship in the least amount of time, as well as when/where to send a boarding party. There are so many combinations of crew/equipment though so you have to relearn these things several times, so that will keep things fresh for a good while. As for why the game is good? The shield system. It seems kind of weird but it is the key to the games complexity and tactical diversity. Because it is difficult to pierce through shields, and shields can absorb potentially an infinite amount of damage, it really recreates those classic star trek moments. I always wondered in some battles the shields would hold for a dozen shots and once it failed unimportant stuff got damaged, but when its convenient for the writer the shields or weapons could be taken offline in the initial volley from the enemy. The way the shields work in this game it actually makes sense, and the whole "divert all power to shields" paradigm also works well. I guess the only hiccup is that you almost never invest in upgrading your systems BEFORE you upgrade your power, because power is cheaper and can be used until you afford both better shields AND 2 more bars of power. So I wish that the game made it more frequent that you have to choose where to funnel your power, especially since ion weapons disable your systems and free up power to use in other areas. Thanks for recommending it, though its almost an inevitability with all the popularity it got. Yay for successful indie games!
  18. Yeah I remember playing SWGB (probably just the demo). It was pretty clunky and it didn't appeal to me. I do enjoy playing Star Wars Empire at War though I think it is much different in terms of design and the Space Battles are much better than the ground battles. I never played much Age of Mythology (again, just the demo). It didn't really appeal to me, I was more of a C&C and Starcraft player... I guess I still am. I do really like Age of Empires 3 and spent many hours with 1 & 2. I would love to pick up a digital download of the game, but the only thing available is a crappy reprint that has no online functionality. Ubisoft has the rights to physical distribution... I wonder if they have exclusive digital rights. I do have Age of Mythology for the nintendo DS and it is a pretty nice simple TBS that reuses the same design. Any opinions on that game?
  19. Oops I totally missed this episode. I've been active on the elemental forums for 2+ years now... though I only bought the game in june once it seemed good enough to warrant the purchase. I am feeling kinda meh about the game but it has pretty good modding support so I think I can tweak it to the point where its very enjoyable. The tactical combat was designed to be fast, simple, and very similar results to auto-resolve. I think this is a huge problem for the game, I don't want to play a game where all the battles are predetermined before they start. If you are going to let me move units around a battlefield then I should be able to have significant impact over the outcome. The AI is very predictable and still has some serious flaws such as never moving once it enters a zone of control. The diplomacy system also is not very well designed, I don't like it. It should feel like playing with other human players, not like a store. I also hate when in 4x games the AI gangs up on the human player, but it seems to happen in this game too. Part of this is that the AI underestimates the human strength and likes to pick on weaklings. In order to get the game balanced to the point it is now, they had to nerf a ton of features which makes the game less interesting. The game was way more fun when you could get powerful magic items on your hero in the first 100 turns... now I will likely kill the AI players in the first 100-150 turns and never experience any of the cool features like the wildlands, powerful items, etc. I can kill an AI player with only my sovereign, a champion, and the freebie units you get from quests/goodie huts. I usually don't build any units until I unlock most of the tech tree and them build super units that can each kill a dragon. Part of the problem with the game is that there is an optimum way to play thats pretty easy to identify, so every game feels the same. (Build order, research order, unit traits are all constants for me) I think the major complaint people have with the game is that it is bland. The champions don't feel unique, the units don't feel unique, an there are no elves, dwarves, and other cool races due to budget constraints. The spells are pretty boring and stuff I have seen before, and even though there are lots of spells in the game it doesn't feel like it because of how hard it is to get spells. Overall it was an ambitious game that had lots of potential and fell a bit short. However, it is great that it got made in the first place and it will only improve as time goes on. Time to dig into those xml files!
  20. Episode 190: The XCom Review Show

    Obviously the design philosophy for XCOM was "give the player difficult decisions to make." However, looking at peoples comments is it possible they put in too many difficult decisions? At least for the less hardcore audience, I know some people might get frustrated when they do well in the battles but the strategic layer crumbles around them. I'm glad the game is doing well... what 90's strategy game do you think should be redone next? Alpha Centauri perhaps?
  21. Episode 189: Through a Glass, Darkly

    I was playing around with some interesting ideas while designing a 4x wargame. The idea is that you play a general who stays away from the front lines. You have to direct all the troops by sending out messengers, receiving reports from scouts, etc. There is always a delay between when the information is collected and when it gets back to you, and finding ways to shorten that gap or to prepare for the worst is really important. In a fantasy or sci fi setting, you can add in limited resources that let you take direct control of troops for a short period of time or spy on regions of the map. I suppose you could also put in decoys, plant moles, and do other devious things. In the end, I am more of a hands on kind of guy and I don't know that I would enjoy playing a game where I never got to controlt he units on the field. I think for a fog of war game these kind of mechanics would make things more interesting. For example, what about a 2D platformer where you are a dark elf and you have infravision but you are blinded by light. It totally flips the fog of war equation on its head since what you can see and what your opponents can see are totally different. I actually started designing a game based on this idea and I think it would be lots of fun.
  22. Yeah, watching people play the game has helped me realize that you can avoid most of the risky situations by positioning your troops correctly. Never stand your guys next to gas pumps, for example. My main concern is the people who mentioned that rookies are really weak in the late game and losing your veteran troopers is a huge disadvantage. Hopefully I an overly cautious playthrough and not being grenade shy can allow me to keep them alive. I wish I had time to play this right now... oh work.
  23. This is exactly the kind of scenario I was referring to in my post, I guess with a bunch of players these things are bound to happen eventually. http://forums.2kgame...hat-s-bull-**** Also, I re-listened to the podcast and I thought it was great. No complaints, obviously in one episode you can't get everything that happened in 5 years.
  24. I guess I should explain. It is not 100% consistent. Sometimes I let units die, especially if I am winning the metagame, or the long game. However, sometimes I just have an OCD with redoing the battle until I get it just right (usually 0 losses). The best example is the new Kings Bounty games. I probably get a perfect victory about 50% of the time in the game. I treat the battle as a puzzle, and I experiment with different ways to manipulate the AI into giving me extra turns so that I can wear them away with ranged attacks. I carefully choose between using damaging spells, blind, slow, placing a trap... all of which have different guaranteed outcomes. Sometimes though, when you are fighting dragons or a boss, you will lose soldiers and there is nothing you can do. These fights are boring for me because gradients of success are hard to measure... you always know if you got a perfect victory. So what I lost 5 archmages or 100 archers... I can go buy some more with the 10 million gold I have saved up. The only satisfaction I get is from mastering the combat tactics. By reloading and learning the best way to defeat your enemies, you soon gain the ability to win on your first try. It helps that in King's Bounty there is very little thats unpredictable... I can even guess which unit the AI will target and with what spell in some cases. I played X-Com UFO Defense a few weeks ago and I did a terror mission. I was doing really well killing 10 aliens and 1 civillian (oops). Suddenly an alien throws a grenade a very long distance right into the middle of 4 guys... 2 unarmored rookies and 2 armored veterans. The rookies die, one veteran is slightly injured. This is totally acceptable to me, actually kind of exciting. However, I thought about it for a minute... and decided to abort and retry. Why? I was certainly conflicted. I knew that people like Rob would look at me incredulously and say I am defeating part of the game. I don't think thats 100% correct, I get the best of both worlds, finishing the game efficiently while also experiencing defeat in entertaining ways. I seldom experience total defeat... such as losing 8 guys to chrysalids and having 4 take the lonely ride back to base. I guess... I am too much of a perfectionist to let my mistakes slide and when I go into the next mission, and the mission after that wondering why my guys have such crappy accuracy and morale... its those mistakes coming back to haunt me. I do the same thing in baldur's gate 2. I have a low level party, only an hour into the game. I walk into an inn, see some mercs who think they are tough. So I call them out into a battle and get my ass handed to me. I retry the battle a dozen times and eventually i find a combination of spells and party positions that allow me to win. It is basically puzzle solving, and its my favorite thing about video games. I don't like chess, I don't like bejewled... i'm not sure if its purely the flavor of there is a fundamental difference between combining web and fireball compared to forking a knight and a bishop. I have played Diablo 2 Hardcore...and even dueled someone once. My heart was pounding like I had sprinted a mile and adrenaline rushed into my body. The battle was very anticlimactic, with 3 minutes of futile melee until I decided that I didn't want to waste all of my potions. I didn't like it... I don't like getting so worked up about a video game. It was strange that just the idea in the back of my head that I could lose this level 40 character would have so much power over me. Maybe a toned down version of that is what you are looking for when you play a game like X-Com. For me... its more of a cold calculating approach with plenty of funny roleplaying going on in my head to weave my own story. That story is about an elite group of soldiers who can take all odds and with 4-6 characters... there is no room for red shirts. I am glad that there is criticism of saving/loading and I am teaching myself to only do it when something really extreme happens (or the UI sucks and I accidentally run forward 10 spaces instead of selecting a different team member, fairly common in 90's games). It is just difficult for me to accept the fact that I could outflank the enemy perfectly, having predicted their actions, having planned meticulously the situation and oops... I miss my shot, and they shoot me when I'm in full cover and kill me. That would drive me nuts... against a human its okay because its all fun and games... but the AI... maybe if the alien did a little celebration dance and told me to kiss its ass.. maybe then I could accept...
  25. A month ago I was really bummed about all the changes made to the game... mechanics are really important to me and taking out time units fundamentally changes the experience. I went back and played some of the original and I think I am okay with the new XCOM since 2 is better than 1. I think there is lots of fun to be had with the new game, but in the demo the controls were aggravating. Aiming a grenade with the mouse was super clunky, it took about 45 seconds to get the cursor where I wanted since it jumped around a bunch. (I was trying to land it in the center of 2 aliens behind cover). Luckily the radius of explosives seems to be larger than the reticule so a slight deviation isn't a big deal. My problem with the controls is that when you select a weapon it zooms the camera back to your soldier. This is really annoying since I select the soldier, pan over to the alien using WASD because the mouse sucks for moving the camera. Then when I select the grenade it pans the camera back over to my soldier, and now the WASD keys scroll between weapons and no longer scroll the map, forcing me to struggle with mouse sensitivity to pan the camera. If they removed the pan back to the soldier and allowed the WASD to only pan the map and not switch betwen weapons, then I could tolerate playing the game with the bad mouse movement. I kind of wish every class had something you could do when no aliens were visible... the only thing I can think of is grappling onto roofs. I also feel like there is too much die rolling going on. Even if you have really good cover and are flanking you can still miss all of your shots and then get killed the next turn. I am perfectly okay saving and reloading if I feel like I should have won an encounter but things turned awry... I want to be able to play the whole game without losing a soldier. Thats how I play every strategy game and this game seems like it might make that impossible, even if you play perfectly. I guess on normal difficulty it shouldn't be too much trouble. I also would like to see line of fire when I plan out a move... with dotted red lines shooting out towards any aliens I can attack from that position.