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Everything posted by Entriech

  1. I agree! I think that SMAC had an exceptional end game, as far as that genre goes. You're entirely right that if you weren't pursuing some kind of conquest, the implicit time limits placed on you by the planet going bananas really lent that late game a sense of urgency. I think it also helped that the scale of the game stayed reasonably small. It was a long time ago, but I don't remember having much more than 7 or 8 cities to manage, and maybe double or triple the number of units. It was manageable, is what I'm saying.
  2. Recently completed video games

    You know, when I hear "In a cryopod controlling like 10 other robots", all I can think of is Suspended, the old Infocom text adventure with a similar conceit.
  3. I think that with some 4X games, and I'm thinking of particular Gal Civ 2 here, automation might be another good solution to the problem. If you could abstract some of the micromanagement away so you could focus on the goal you're pursuing, it might keep things running along.
  4. I think we need to specifically look at what it is about this genre of games that makes the end of them so unappealing. Then we look at the part of the genre that is fun, and figure out why that doesn't translate into the end game. Let's talk about something like Civilization. What're some of the things about it that make the early game fun? There's a sense of exploration, as you slowly scout out the neighboring terrain and other players. The number of units you need to control/keep track of is low and easy to process. The strategic decisions you are making are near-term, less numerous, and payoff relatively quickly (what to build, what to research). Military engagements are reasonably simple, involve low numbers of a limited scope of units, and resolve quickly. Power disparity between players is reasonably even due to being close to the start of the game. And how does that change in the late game? There's no more exploration, typically by this point the entire map has been revealed. The number of units you need to keep track of and control is very high. The strategic decisions you are making are more long term, but more numerous, and take longer to pay off. Military engagements can either be complex, involving large numbers of units, and can take some time to fully resolve. Or they can be very lopsided affairs that require little decision making, but a lot of attention (in terms of executing the crushing of an enemy). Power disparity between players is great. This can either mean you lack the power to have agency, or that you're so powerful the game presents no challenge. I think Civilization's great flaw is that it never removes the burden of those early game decisions from you as your empire expands and the game grows more complex. Because I do think the decisions/information in the early game that are interesting become too numerous and monotonous in the late game to be any fun. It's kind of absurd that at some point in Civ you start playing on a global scale, but you're still telling this town to make fighter jets, and telling that boat to move over there. You end up as kind of the most micro of managers, and it blows. I think the Civ series would benefit from a mid-late game meta-map swap, condensing your territory down from 20 cities into 3 or 4 countries or states and doing the same for the other players. Condense individual units into armies. Keep the building and research decisions low in number, and quick to pay off. I think you can streamline the number of decisions being made without reducing the challenge or complexity of that stage of the game, because in the regular game very few of the many decisions you'd make in a single turn are salient or interesting.
  5. I always kind of wondered in a Spore style approach to a builder game might be novel. Start at a low, almost atomic level of development (manage this village), and upon reaching a goal state pull the focus up a tier where your former world is now a component (manage this county of villages). Every time you demonstrate mastery you're pulled higher out of the current minutia and into a more complicated system made up of those previously mastered parts, while still being able to take along and apply the lessons you learned at the earlier stages (manage this state, this country, this planet, this galaxy). Maybe you even provide incentive to dip back down into the lower levels now and again, both as a pacing mechanism and to create novelty. It'd be a hell of a balancing act to pull it off, mind you.
  6. Relaxing games recommendations

    I use Trackmania/Trackmania 2 for relaxation sometimes. Not directly competing in races. There's a subset of user created tracks called "Press Forward" tracks where through clever environmental object placement and track construction, the only thing you have to do is accelerate constantly to ping pong successfully through a level. There's a nice mix to me of admiring the scenery rushing past without having to react, and delighting in the clever ways the designers manage to flip and tip you around. Sort of like watching someone solve a really elegant math problem, or something. By way of example:
  7. I Can't Go For That (Game Series)

    How have none of you said Blast Corps. How.
  8. I Can't Go For That (Game Series)

    This is probably going to sound terrible, but I could never get into Monaco. I'm still going to give it another try or two, but after all the accolades and positive attention the game received, I bounced off of it so hard. This was even playing the new updated, streamlined campaign. To preface, I don't have a large group of online folk to play this with, so my intention was to go at it solo. I was surprised when I started it up that the game automatically pushes you online, and then even more automatically works to ensure that you're playing with at least one random stranger most of the time. Enforced multiplayer in a game where going at your own pace seems more the focus doesn't work for me at all. Rather than being able to stop and admire anything, I constantly felt like I was chasing more experienced or incautious individuals. I did force myself offline at one point to stop this, but my issues with it didn't stop there. First of all the game seems unbearably visually busy to me. To the point where I was having real issues keeping track of everything on the screen, because of all the bright colours kind of fighting with each other for attention. I don't know if it's my resolution or what, but the individual actors seem unbearably tiny, and the sensation of playing the game felt like squinting into the sun for me. And then the gameplay itself (at least early on) seems simple in a way that isn't appealing to me playing by myself. Maybe it's heavily reliant on multiplayer coordination for the fun of the game to emerge, but simple stealthing about in a proscribed linear manner wasn't doing it for me.
  9. Banished - The Indie City Simulator

    Tom Chick eviscerates Banished. http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2014/02/24/cold-undocumented-emptiness-banished/ I can't find too much fault with his criticism. I'll admit that, freed from the initial giddy rush of newness, I'm starting to feel a bit soured on the game. While initially I praised its limited scope as something that made it more accessible to someone like me, once you get over the hurdles caused by bad AI or lack of information, there's nowhere to go next. As of late, watching my town, I've mostly been looking over the few remaining pieces of infrastructure that I haven't indulged in yet and trying to decide which one to build in kind of a lackluster way. I also feel like the lack of information helps cover up the mistakes that the game's AI and simulation is making behind the scenes. I still think that the game's impressive coming from a single person as it does. I don't resent giving the dude my twenty dollars, and got a good 12 hours of fun out of it, and the potential mod tools being developed could extend the longevity considerably depending on scope. Fun bonus knowledge from the comments on that review: You can apparently make diagonal roads by holding shift and dragging. Witchcraft!
  10. I Can't Go For That (Game Series)

    Regarding Rayman, did you know that at the very start of the game you can play as any of four characters? For the whole game! I choose to play as one of the Teensies, because Rayman is creepy, and it's a more inspiring game where a teensy is saving their own people. Maybe that'd help you.
  11. Banished - The Indie City Simulator

    I actually found in the bit I've played that going over the initial requirement of having enough houses for your starting population can put you on a bad path. It seems like once people move into a house, one of the first things they'll do is grab food/firewood from a storage barn to stock it. I had a couple instances where I built six houses off the bat rather than five for aesthetic reasons, and ended up with a house with very little food in it, as the other five households had taken most of the food for themselves. I actually had someone starve to death very early on because of it. So my new approach now is to keep the population low for the first one or two years to build up a big surplus of resources before starting to expand. That game me enough wiggle room that when I saw I'd acquired too many hungry mouths, I could shift the settlement over a year towards more food production without losing anyone vs getting down to the point where your food stockpile is constantly running out, and people are interrupting their activities to repeatedly take a few bits of food from the barn to their house. I think I must have been very lucky with my first town to not have run into this issue, but it's definitely happened a few subsequent times. It feels like there's no a big hope of recovery unless you see the problem coming at you. By the time your food stockpile is running low, it's too late. You needed to see that coming for a year to respond. Similarly the trend of things like logs and iron incoming for tools and firewood, and leather incoming for clothing. Something I've been tinkering with is matching town expansion to the passage of time, never building more than a house or two in any given year. This has the effect of staggering the children coming out which makes resource demand a little more manageable, and also ensures you have a steady stream of aging citizens. I feel like within a certain period of time (maybe 20ish game years?) you need to reach a certain sustainable population size or you will eventually run out of people. Basically at a certain point, old people dying should result in new children being born in their place in a household. I'm not sure what that population number would be though. Maybe 80 or 100? I've been having a lot of success building things in grid layouts, the AI seems to path a lot better. I've also reverted to centralizing storage barns and stockpiles, as it felt like the AI might've been getting confused about stock and priority when I had them more spread out. Hopefully that ends up being built later, as I like the idea of the marketplaces in game, but in practice they don't seem valuable enough to implement.
  12. Banished - The Indie City Simulator

    Yeah. Resources go to storage barns or stockyards before the general populace will pull them out to use them as they're supposed to be used. I think an overuse of barns and stockyards, and a low number of labourers might've been behind my issues with my herbalists. I get the feeling if you don't have enough labourers for all the porting that needs to be done, it'll press-gang your regular workers into doing it for you.
  13. 3 questions for those of you who work in the Industry

    Speaking as someone who pursued a CS degree and ended up working on business applications rather than games, I can at least tell you that there's satisfying work to be done out there that doesn't necessarily involve games. CS jobs in any subject matter typically deal extensively with lots of problem solving (and specifically using programming to solve problems). If you enjoy programming, a CS degree is both a practical selection (as an earlier poster mentioned, there's still lots of jobs that pay well available in this field) as well as a good first step into making games. Another nice thing about computer science is that it can relate to so many other fields. Maybe working traditionally in medicine doesn't excite you, but how about developing software that runs MRI machines? Or creating and maintaining systems that enable research labs to function more efficiently? Computer science has applicability through the environment, medicine, the auto industry, government work, the military, like everything.
  14. Banished - The Indie City Simulator

    Yeah, given that children need to hit age 10 before becoming 'adult' and being able to work, you can often run into a situation where your labourers start dropping with noone to replace them, and building houses at that point is futile. Of course if you build too many houses too soon, you'll drive your nascent town to starvation. There's definitely still some bugs that they need to work out. In one of my towns I'm just watching my two herbalists carry around inventory in the town. They refuse to pick herbs or treat anyone. I assume something's just gotten then stuck and confused.
  15. Banished - The Indie City Simulator

    So I bought this earlier today, and have put a few hours into it. I've been really enjoying it so far. One pitfall I feel like this game avoids is being complex for the sake of complexity. The resources your town needs and use are pretty explicit and easy to understand, and the buildings you can build are laid out very logically in the interface. Having every building unlocked from the get go feels smart. You won't be tackling the more advanced buildings due to lack of resources, but seeing them there in the interface makes it easier to plan and understand the paths that are available to you. Early on I could see some dramatic errors ending up in a game over, but when your town is small, it actually feels very manageable. So long as you keep on top of food and warmth, you'll be fine. The real depth of the game comes from figuring out how to grow your village in a sustainable fashion. There's real danger in growing too quickly, or not diversifying in your development, and having something critical knocked out from under you as a consequence. In some ways the difficulty curve feels interesting as a result. You can play a very slow, careful game early on without feeling penalized or like you're setting yourself up for failure later on. It's only as you try to build out that the game starts to push back on you, and you end up engaged in interesting questions about how to meet your resourcing needs. While I've always admired the Sim City games (barring that last one), I've never quite been able to get into them. They always scaled up very quickly, and the scope of them was larger than what I feel like I wanted. By contrast, Banished feels like it hits exactly the right note for me, where even hours into the game I can pan over my village and know and understand how all of the different pieces are interlocking. Given the options for increasing the difficulty (such as starting in mountainous terrain, or in a worse climate) I feel like it has some longevity, especially if the developer adds in the mod support they've been touting for a while. If you like city builders, or town simulations, or what have you, I really recommend this game. It's $20 from the developer through the Humble widget, and comes with a Steam key as well.
  16. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    I think I might be done with Far Cry 2. I've put about 9 hours into it so far, and have just reached the 2nd map. I definitely have enjoyed the game more now than the first time I tried to play it closer to release, and a lot of that has to do with the extensive conversations and design points I've listened to/read about around the game. It definitely doesn't feel traditionally fun, but it's impressive how all of its systems work together to enable narratives to be created out of random conjunctions of events. The thing is, I think I might've gotten all that I want out of it at this point. I don't feel like the new location is going to dramatically alter the way that the game plays, and I'm a little worn down by the pacing and constant violence trying to get from point A to B. So I think it might be time to hang the game back up on the rack, and maybe come back to it again in another four or five years.
  17. Far Cry 2

    I actually started playing Far Cry 2 again this week, too. I'd originally tried it a number of years ago, and it didn't click with me, but obviously I just wasn't ready to engage with it in the right way. Playing it again now has been a great experience. I don't know that I'll make it the whole way through the game, but the five or six hours I've put into it have really made me appreciate what they managed to accomplish.
  18. Souls... I mean Lords of the Fallen

    It might help that you're possessed by a flame demon. Ohhh, Bound by Flames is by Spiders, they who developed Mars: War Logs, and the Testament of Sherlock Holmes. That might explain a lot.
  19. Amateur Game Making Night

    You might want to check http://opengameart.org/ . They don't only host graphics and models, but also music and sound as well.
  20. Titanfall

    I've definitely been interested and excited about this game, but the PC version being Origin-only, and not owning an Xbox One means I'm going to have to pass on it for now. Hoping EA eventually comes to its senses and gives up on this Origin-exclusivity nonsense.
  21. Amateur Game Making Night

    Speaking as a programmer, I think you'd be fine learning Javascript for this. All of the fundamentals of object oriented programming are there, most of what you'd end up having to look up if you wanted to then learn C# would be syntax, and most IDEs are actually pretty good about predicatively filling things in for you. That Unity Space Shooter tutorial is really good. I just finished it myself last weekend. The only thing I'd tell you to watch out for is in one of the later lessons they have you creating a material or something for the orange laser I think, and the thing you are creating already exists in the directory where you're working, so I ended up having to delete it before creating it again. Also as a B.Math graduate, I'm ashamed that I didn't know what a Quarternion was.
  22. Getting into the industry?

    You're likely right. I'm probably just coming from the other side having seen a lot of people encouraged into following their interests or passions without necessarily being made aware that there can be negative consequences to doing so (debt, poverty, losing an interest). At the end of the day, I certainly don't think you're encouraging the spectre of the starving artist, and I know I'm not holding up settling for the 9 - 5 drone grind as an ideal to strive for. To the OP I think you just need to keep both sides in mind when you're making your decisions. It's tough that the world is set up in such a way that you end up having to make reasonably large choices without much of a safety net. I will say that all of the tools and knowledge you need to make games is out there on the Internet and available for free right now and in my opinion the best way to proceed in the immediate future would be to engage with that material and see how you feel about it. I'm sure if you wanted specific recommendations, either people in this thread or over in the hobby developer thread would be happy to offer an opinion.
  23. Pursuant to that, I just read an article on Polygon about why the Kentucky Route Zero devs have been so quiet since releasing Act 2. http://www.polygon.com/2014/2/11/5400646/why-kentucky-route-zeros-creators-have-been-so-quiet Essentially they call out all the negative attention they received for missing their planned dates as being distracting to them, and that their development process doesn't track well to meeting deadlines, so they've decided to go quiet instead.
  24. Getting into the industry?

    Yeah, to be clear I wasn't endorsing that position as the be all and end all. There's definitely a whole range between the two positions, and I think part of growing up and getting out into the professional world is figuring out where you fit along that continuum at given points in your life. I think espousing either extreme can be dangerous. Either way, some oft-repeated advice in this thread does hold true, which is if you really want to pursue game development then keep/start making games, to broaden your skills and create a good portfolio. In terms of pursuing education, I'd recommend going for a more general degree at a college/university than taking a program oriented specifically towards making games. In the event that you end up not wanting to work in the industry, or aren't able to immediately start working in it, that education will transfer more easily to a job in another field.
  25. Getting into the industry?

    There was an essay I read a year or two ago that I feel applies a little bit, at least. Credit where credit is due, it was http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html . I don't endorse most of what this guy says, as he's got some pretty radical ideas about civilization and society and so on. But one thing he said that I appreciate is this: Do not try to find a job doing what you love. This is my most radical advice. There are some people in the world who have jobs they love so much that they would do them for free. If you become one of these people, you will probably get there not through planning but through luck, by doing what you love for free until somehow the money starts coming in. But if you make an effort to combine your income and your love, you are likely to end up compromising both, making a poverty income by doing something you don't quite love, or no longer love. For example, if you decide to become a chef because you love cooking, it will probably make you hate cooking, because cooking will become linked in your mind to all the bullshit around the job. What I recommend instead is to separate your money from your love. Get the most low-stress source of income that you can find, and then do exactly what you love for free. It might eventually make you money or it might not. "Do what you love and the money will follow" is mostly false. The real rule is: "If you're doing what you love, you won't care if you never make any money from it -- but you still need money." Now I know there's lots of folks who might disagree, but I'll be honest, this approach has made for a much better life for me than if I'd committed wholesale to only working in the field that I thought I'd enjoy. I've loved games since I was a kid with a Commodore 64, and the thought of making games is incredibly appealing to me. But when it came down to it, I pursued a computer science degree, and ended up getting a job working as a developer for a financial company. My job is occasionally rewarding, mostly boring or frustrating, like a lot of jobs. But it keeps food on the table and a roof overhead, and gives me the time and ability and security to invest myself during the hours I'm not at work in whatever strikes my fancy with no strings attached. Maybe in five or ten years of puttering around making games as a bedroom hobby I'll have enough experience or success to make the transition. But until then I won't have the day to day necessities of sustaining quality of life impinging on my passions or the pursuit of them. Extra bonus points for getting an education in a field relevant to my interests as it makes it all the easier to chase my interests as they align. I wish you all the best wherever your path takes you.