Posts posted by Sorbicol
In my head this screams "Epic" more than Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Armies of imperial guard or space marines v orks, chaos or eldar on a much grander scale than anything relic did in DoW. Of course the argument there is "relic have already done 40k" I guess.
What with the upcoming Space Hulk release looks like GW are loosening up their back catalogue again. I hope against hope they have played Firaxis's XCOM and are thinking "Mmmm. Necromunda."
I would say that BF3 does capture some of the feeling of "war!" With some of the maps - Caspian Border and Kharg Island are the 2 maps that spring to mind, especially if you are on the 64 player PC versions. At least some of the problem in BF3 is the constant need to get XP to reach the next unlock. The points system certain does its best to encourage squad play but to be honest just spamming out ammo or medical drops is often enough to wrack up the points.
Scales does matter clearly, I guess it's the point where the nature of playing video games over comes the nature of effective warfare - far too many people who'd rather play solo than co-ordinate. Given the success of games like left 4 dead 2, I'm sort of surprised that there hasn't been a FPS prepared to do more to force the issue of playing as a squad or team rather than just catering to those who'd rather just be snipers.
An interesting discussion on a slightly left field subject for 3MA. As an old school Battlefield player it's a shame i don't miss the commander role more than I do after it disappeared in BF2142. BF2 was an exceptional game when someone had that commander role, knew what they were doing and the squads were prepared to listen to them. If the other team were doing the same....... I've never really had an only experience to better that at playing wargames, it's such a shame it used to happen so rarely. Of course you can be tactical at a squad level in BF3, but I always think its very telling that BF3 can be "won" by a single squad with half an idea of what they are doing, while everyone else around them run about like headless chickens.
I never played battlezone but it does sound worth checking out. As does natural selection too. Planetside just sounds like a larger scale BF to me, with some poor F2P microtransactions tacked on to the side of it.
In other words they design the bits and then build game around them.
So you end up with a near totally imbalanced mess, but a gorgeous looking tabletop.
When Games Workshop went through their management buyout in the late 1990s this was pretty much the first thing they did. They pretty much realised the only way they were going to make enough money to keep going was to monetize the "plastic pieces" as much as they could and minimise the actual gameplay to a simplistic rule set. They pretty much abandoned anything they didn't think they could get a decent return in hence they stopped supporting their best games - Bloodbowl, Space Hulk, Necromunda (which by the way Firaxis' XCOM engine would fit like a glove) even the epic scale Space Marine - and just concentrated on Warhammer and 40k.
However, from a commercial point of view they were completely right and went from strength to strength with games simple enough for little Jimmy to play and pester Mum & Dad for miniatures to go with it. They alienated a lot of more mature gamers back then though it must be said.
I suppose it's the ultimate example of what was being discussed - the point where having good quality pieces becomes more important than the actual game.....
There is supposed to be a big penalty to the "to hit" modifier to sniper rifles the closer you are to your target
As you learn to play it you should find that it becomes more enjoyable and less of things that irritate you happen. Broadly speaking I believe that cover reduces the probability of the enemy hitting you, not how much damage you take (that's randomised I think) However many alien weapons and the sectoid's mind meld ability increase the probability of them hitting you, so it often appears they are better shots than you are. At the start pf the game they are! If you press F1 you will get a breakdown on all the modifiers that affect that all important % to hit number.
Missiles will generally be 90% accurate , but can miss (10% chance) misfire in a direction you weren't expecting. They can also be blocked so pay attention to the numbers on screen before you fire. If you fire a blocked missile t'll hit whatever was blocking the shot, so if its a car them the car will go boom, which isn't always good. They are not a guarateed hit, unlike grenades.
Cover is critical to the game, so much so there are positive bonuses for hitting exposed enemies (or your squad) if they are exposed, so you should always always try to end your move in at least half cover if not better.
As for permadeath, well that's sort of one of the points the game. If you don't like your squad dying try to make sure that your tactical play minimises the likelihood of that happening as much as possible. Stay in cover, use over watch a lot and use one guy as a scout to find the enemy, and then pull back. Flanking tactics and using higher ground all helps too.
Is it possible for aliens to trigger my overwatch during their free movement? I.e., if I set all but one of my dudes to overwatch, move the remaining dude forward, and discover a cluster of aliens, will those aliens get shot by my overwatch dudes on that same turn if they cross their lines of sight?
The short answer is yes but it appears a bit buggy. I've yet to see over watch trigger if, during their turn, the aliens move I to my LoS from the fog of war if I've not seen them before. They do get the extra free turn though
Woah. This is the sort of episode that needs to come with a disclaimer I think, "if you've never played LoL then this podcast probably won't mean anything to you".
I was lost in the first 5 minutes given the number of character names, team names (I think) and I assume individuals who were getting referenced. I could hear how enthused Rob, Julian, Julian and Rhea were about the subject matter but I've had to turn off I'm afraid. Any chance of a LoL for beginners podcast to balance it up?
Yeah I've just realised why my classic games are falling apart so badly - I'm not reaching the alien base to reduce panic so get overwhelmed. It is a bit stage managed that aspect of the game, I think successfully completing a mission will reduce panic in that country, but failure will increase it across the entire continent is a bit too unbalanced.
Panic induced friendly fire seems to be trigger by proximity as far as I can tell. If a unit is going to panic fire, they will shoot at the nearest target. I think they will default to shooting aliens unless they can't see any and so will shoot a friendly instead. Could be wrong though.
I actually stopped playing with ironman enabled over the weekend. There are some bugs which really bork the gameplay through no fault of your own, mostly the terrible camera on the PC UI and the "aliens spawn right in the middle of your group" bugs. I've also noticed on classic that if alien reinforcements move into your field of view during their turn, they complete their move, then you get the "discovered aliens" cutscene and then they get an additional extra move to which it does not appear over watch fire will trigger. This has happened to me many times and I've gone from a good defensive position to one where I'm completely outgunned and out flanked. Until these are patched I'm leaving off ironman at classic difficulty. The game is (rightly) hard enough at that level without game bugs or bad coding making it nigh on impossible through no fault of your own.
Some times this game just kicks you in the nuts as hard as it can. A mission where not one single reaction fire shot hit, I still managed to kill 8 mutons, 1 cyber disk and 2 drones. In the my last remaining soldier got one shorted by the final muton who was on 1 health. End if that campaign when the next mission was a terror mission that had me facing 9 chrysalis and 1 cyber disk on the 3rd turn. Didn't see their turn out
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?
A rather protracted "discussion" I've been having on another forum centres around this, after I pointed out that the strategic layer in this reboot actually matters to the game, unlike in the original where the only strategic decision was where to locate your first base.
The main complaint seems to be the randomness of panic control, which a lot of people regard at the moment as "too difficult". I don't agree with that though, I love the balance Firaxis have bought to this level of the game - when do I build another uplink, where shall I locate my satellites, do I leave a country with high panic levels to its abductions if I only have rookies available and it's a very difficult mission? It certainly added to the atmosphere of the game although I do tho k having to build the uplink, make sure it's powered, then build the satellite(s) and the interceptors to defend them is at least one step too far. I would link satellites directly to uplinks personally, so once the uplink is built the satellites are immediately available.
It is such a good game on its own terms and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's deeply satisfying to play a game that doesn't treat you like and idiot and leaves you having to make meaningful decisions, no matter how unrelenting they are!
Rob thanks for that reply there about your impression of the preview build. Having watch this IGN video of Jake and Garth DeAngelis talking about controls in the game, it does look like they hve made more than a few additions and changes to the PC interface beyond what is available in the demo, and from what you and Bruce both said in the podcast, the preview build as well. If you get a chance to watch it (or already have) could you comment?
I think my primary worries from playing the demo are the same as yours - a couple if instances where the game has moved my soldier out of cover, or to the wrong location because the cursor hasn't "stuck" to the square I was clicking on, and the real lack of feedback about what your soldier's line of sight actually is. Like you I've had a few occasions where I thought I was moving to a position where I could fire upon an Alien, only for the game to tell me there was no LoS.
The Demo is...... lacking. There is only half of one mission where you are free to do what you like with your soldiers, and it really limits the "feel" you get for the game. Still I'm looking forward it.
While we're at it, have you looked at or played Xenonauts? I backed the kickstarter for that an, for the most part (apart from the overly complicated air combat system they have added) they look to have captured the classical XCOM gameplay style down to a tee. If you do play it or look into it it would be great to here what you think of the two versions and the differences between them.
A good episode and it was nice to hear Jake finally explain some of his reasoning for getting rid of some of the more "tension (or rage) creating" aspects of the original game - like Aliens shooting you from beyond your field of vision, or your soldiers being mind controlled by an unseen opponent. Not entirely sure that I agreed with all of what he said but at least he does so in a rational and logical manner. Llittle bit worried that too much has been conceeded to "new" players of the genre (and the consolisation of the control system) but from the sounds of it the challenge is still there. I think I've seen, listened to and read pretty much every preview there has been for this game and although I'm not quite sure it's going to be everything I've hoped for as a XCOM veteran, it certainly looks and sounds like firaxis have made a damn good effort. Looking forward to play the game.
No Troy said he was going to give it a few more days in the Pokemon podcast.
Another follower of 3 Moves Ahead here - apologies for not posting in here earlier. As for me - well I'm born and raised in the UK, I used to play a lot more games before I had a baby daughter six months ago. Now I squeeze in the odd game here and there when my little girl and wife allow!
We panicked. We cried out in fear and terror that we would lose all we have achieved. But in the depths of our despair so the Word was heard once more. "faith" it said. "and courage".
So we turned to war. Pleas to our shortsighted neighbours fell on deaf ears. Could they not see that if we failed the would be next? Work on the great project halted as we looked to violence and death to protect all we held so dear. First ships were built, using all our knowledge and inenguity of our engineers, they were made of steel and cut the waters like sharks hunting their prey. 3 were all we could manage given our desperation, but more would be built. Our young were conscripted, given the finest weapons we could prepare and set to the coast to look for Montezuma's invasion fleet.
It was our fleet that found them. A mighty army on the waves. Yet protected only by a few old wooden sailing ships. Relief flowed through the fleet for here was a for that would easily be dealt with. All that fear and worry over this?! And so relief turned to anger and anger into vengeance, and the Aztecs learnt the folly of making threats that could not be backed up. Like the wrath of God the fleet fell upon the Aztecs, gun barrels blazing, wooden ships bursting asunder, and the unprotected soldiers drowned in their thousands due to the stupidity of their master. The few that made it back to land we dispatched with impunity, shells fired from a distance they could not reach. A single Aztec city was looted and burned tithe ground by that fleet, to teach Montezuma the lesson he sorely needed, but it was a lesson he spurned. For another 100 years he sent his brightest and best to a watery grave with a stubbornness we could not comprehend. Sickened we left the fleet patrolling the sea, and recalled our conscripted youths and so work on the great Utopia began once more.
And then it came. Two final projects and our utopia would be born. while our scientist learnt to harness the power of the sun, so our artists and religious leaders and other peoples gathered to create heaven on Earth. With the holy fire sent to sweep Montezuma from the land we liberated the Dutch and Songians from their slavery, and burnt the memory of The Aztecs from the world. We called to all peoples of the world to join our celebration of God's holy word, and saw that in the fullness of time our blessed Utopia would reach all corners of the world and finally, my work had been completed.
OK so it wasn't the most interesting game of Civ I've played, but cultural victories tend to be clickfests at best when going well. Montezuma's DoW was the only one against me the entire game, despite a lot of posturing from Washington and me and Monty running away with the points lead. Nuking him at the end was deeply satisfying despite the diplomatic penalties, but I was only 15 turns off the end and was well able to fend off an other foolish DoWs. All I need to do now is learn to pay on a level above prince!
I also recommend you never type out something this long on an iPhone.
A tale of CiV........
My name is Haile Selassie and it was I who lead my people from the desert and propelled them to greatness. I built a civilisation the likes of which the world will never see again, to the glory of God and my nation that will live through the annuls of history until the world turns back into the dust from wence it came.
For countless generations my ancestors roamed the desert, wandering where there was water and food, never settling in one place for long, the voices in the wind calling them ever on. Until one day we created the brow of a hill and saw before us a valley and a river, the sun glinting off the sea behind. Here was food, shelter, a respite from the fierce heat of the desert, finally we had found a place to call home.
With a new found sense of security, we built permanent dwellings by that river and raised a monument to the gods for guiding us to this place. We least to farm crops and mine hills, where we found large deposits of a glimmering metal from which our most skilled artisans could create beautiful jewellery the likes of which had not been seen before. Silver we called it, and it became the lifeblood of our people and the catalyst to everything we have built since we settled by that shimmering sea. Our bravest warriors were sent to scout the land around us, past the desert of our ancestors and to the jungles beyond. They encountered many brutish tribes who answered our call to civilisation wih weapons and violence, and crushed them all. And yet they also met others attempting to raise themselves beyond their humble beginnings, and we knew we were not the only people longing for more. The Chinese them called themselves, haughty yet beautiful, and the Americans, brash yet far sighted. As our warriors explore this great land we would take, my people settled into the toil of life but never lost their reverence for the desert spirits that lead us to this place. Desert worshippers we were, and desert worshippers we thought we would remain.
The years turned and so our city grew. We learned to trade our silver for fine fabrics from the Chinese, which they called silk, and from Washington he gave us little disks of a burnished yellow metal they called gold, and many of them. As we grew old the elders recognised that the knowledge of the desert and our wanderings were being lost by the younger generations, and so a gear library of our accumulated wisdom was built by the shores of the sea to save everything we had ever known so that it might never be lost. The other nations learn of our feat and grew jealous, and soon we heard tales of their own great works, though forever in imitation of our own. As the city grew the elders gathered to discuss the overcrowding which would soon blight the happiness of the people, and the first great exodus took place, with those who wished leaving to found a new great city to the western edge of the desert, where stone, incense and cotton fields had been spied by our warriors years before. There they settled and found a great wonder, a mountain so filled with gems it sparkled in the sun, a source of wealth for our nation and further proof of the providence of the desert spirits. To the South the other exodus left, to a cooler land of grass wheat and rolling hills. There they found grapes of the slopes of those hills and made fine wines and
And so came a man amongst us who's words were like fire on dry parchment. He spoke of the one true God who crated this world of plenty, guided our people to the foundations of our nation and would guide is forever more. The more people listened, the more they believed and Itter truth of his words became evident. The first great, and only true religion of the world was born in the founding city of Addis Abbaba that year, and everything my people built from that day forward was the glory of the lord.
Alight with the word of god my people threw themselves into a orgy of creativity, building cathedrals to God, great building that were wonders of the world, and the fame and sophistication of our empire became the envy of all the other tribes. We heard of the rise of false prophets and false gods, and scorned those nations who listened to the testimony of hollow and imaginary Gods. To the North of the vast land we inhabited our warriors met the nations of Persia and the ottomans before the land ran out and one again there was the sea, stretching off into the infinity beyond the horizon. We me other cities, and befriended them, their interest in art and culture matching our own and the glory of our nation grew again.
But the word of the true God cannot be stifled by the sea, and so my people learnt to build the wooden boats and gain the skills to see what leaves beyond the horizon and onward to the uttermost ends of the world. Here our sailors found the other great land of our world, and fatefully, we met the Azetcs, friends, betrayers and nearly the downfall of our world.
With a vast empire that took our scouts many, many years to explore, word was returned in hushed and awed tones. They carried back word of great cities and momentus buildings, of a beatiful and bountiful land. However the foul deeds of these Aztecs and their rituals and sacrifices were also told, and we were sorely troubled by those we had called friend. We met the Songians, and the Dutch, and heard the tales of the aggression of their great neighbour, and dark clouds grew to cover the earth.
Washington had grown weary of our exhortations to follow the true world of god, and where the ottomans and Persians had recognised the truth both the Amercians and Chinese only heard to poison whispers of their false gods. No longer were we friends and growig armies could be seen in the lands beyond our borders. With heavily hearts my people looked to their defenses and the warrior ways of our ancestors were quietly revived. Our scientists look deep into the workings of the world and new and terrible weapons were devised should we need to defend ourselves, for having heard of the horrors of war from those victims of the Aztecs my people had no desire to inflict them themselves. Still they looked ever toward the glory of god and the dram of building a utopia were all would be welcome, no war would exist and all would live in peace and harmony, and in those dark days that dream seemed more distant than ever. Reluctantly we promised our American and Chinese neighbours that we would stop preaching the true word to them, and in private we prayed for their souls when the reckoning came.
And so the world, teetering on the brink, passed it's moment of crisis and the great peace that was all our nation had ever know remained. Yet we were not naive, and we had learnt not to trust those we had called friend. In secret and silence, we found those mej to guard our secrets and learn those of the other nations. Fouls deeds were committed, great scientists were found murdered, their ideas stolen and more than one nation were turned back from war, their plans discovers and whispered into the ears of their rivals.
And so the years turned, the world revolved and while the great project to the glory of God gathered pace in our nation, so the size and power of the Aztecs grew. Here it is we lost our way, so enraptured were we in our elevation to the word of the Lord that we lost out sight and did not see our doom until it was nearly upon us.
The Aztecs called us. "we want your riches" they said. "We want your cities. And your people. And all you have ever built or we will crush your nation and return it to the sand from where you came."
(To be continued) Sorry about spelling and weird ass auto-correct oddities.
Good episode that I enjoyed listening too. I find myself agreeing with everyone to some extent (and I know that's contradictory) in that backstory or game mechanics don't have to both be present to create a good game. However I think Troy hit the nail on the head when he was talking about getting a synergy between backstory / lore and game mechanics lifting a good game to greatness, and I think this is what all games should really be aiming for.
When it goes wrong it's a disaster (we all know about Elemental), but when a game gets it right it can really make something fantastic, like Alpha Centuari, Sword of the Stars or Fall from Heaven, which I'm surprised you guys didn't talk about more.
Specifically with regard to space based 4x games I think some of the problem is the prism of human experience, where we all want interesting aliens in the game, but we also want them to have the same goals and aims as we would - basically build tin cans wih big guns to fly off and shoot each other with. I think all space games suffer from this, with the possible exception of SotS but even here that comes from a direction the gamer(s) have no influence over.
In SotS the best emergent storytelling/gameplay comes from the galactic menaces, not from the other playable races. These are probably the only true Aliens I've ever encountered in a game, 'races' with aims and goals that are not 'colonise the galaxy and shoot anyone who gets in your way'. From the self replicating Von Nuemann machines to the locust swarms, it would be fantastic. To see a game where the aliens are really alien with different goals other than galactic domination and conquest. Why can't you play as a sentient planet like Alpha Centauri or Solaris, who's aim is to get enough of the other races to worshIp you? Or some sort of organic space algae who's aim is to spread far enough and colonise enough planets to achieve sentience?
I admit that would be difficult to build a good game out of, but I bet it would lead to some terrific emergent storytelling/gameplay!
Lastly, just about Warhammer. It doesn't really matter in context to the podcast but I think it's worth pointing out I think you got it backwards...
Games Workshop created Warhammer back in the late 70s early 80s (the fantasy world first) as an alternative to Dungeons and Dragons. They just decided to give you the world in which to play rather than let you imagine it like DnD does. The two guys who set it up - Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson were (I think) established journalists and writers first, rather than game designers who needed to learn how to write. If you look up the Fighting Fantasy books they wrote in the 80s (which were huge over here in the UK at the time) you'll probably get a feel for their background.
Anyway of you manage to track down the original back stories to Warhammer fantasy battle (the collapse of the Slann warpgates letting chaos into the world) or the 40K universe (God Emperor arises to save humanity and the Horus Heresey) I think you'd follow that they wrote the world first and then created the games to play those characters. 40K certainly started with the Emperor, not the space marine although he wasn't far behind!
Obviously there has been a lot of synergy since then between the games and the world to lead to where it is today (influenced by some pretty hard nosed commercial decisions it must be said)
Episode 201: Best of the Guests 2012
in Three Moves Ahead Episodes
I think Dave nailed the main issue with XCOM - the strategic level to the game. Not so much with equipment (curiously I couldn't equipment my soldiers with everything they wanted straight out of the gate, I usually had to wait a couple of missions before I'd collected all the resources) but "build satellites before assaulting the base" part - that was the only strategically important part of the game for me, because once you were through the alien base level you'd have enough satellites up and benefit from the global panic reduction not to have to worry abou losing any more nations. At that point you were never in any danger of losin the game, so a lot of the tension was lost.
As for Endless Space - got this in the steam sale and I'm enjoying it a lot, but it does feel a little "lite" as it were. I think the abstract nature of the combat is part of the problem, it's just numbers. It feels like it needs something a lot more substantial.