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Everything posted by Ninety-Three

  1. Infinifactory: Like Spacechem in 3D

    Zachtronics, the developer behind Ironclad Tactics and Spacechem, have launched Infinifactory on Steam Early Access. However, it's more of a finished product than most Early Access stuff. I've gotten it, and their description "Like Spacechem in 3D" is accurate. If you know and like Spacechem, that should be all the recommendation you need. For those of you that haven't played Spacechem, or any of the flash games they used to put out like Codex of Alchemical Engineering, Infinifactory is a puzzle game, but really it's more of an engineering simulator. You place conveyor belts, welders, sensors and so on to create an assembly line that assembles components and delivers them to a designated spot. However, Infinifactory isn't like most puzzle games. You aren't given a limited number of conveyor belts, or a cramped space to work in. Here's an aerial view of a typical level: Components are outputted to those yellow squares on the right, they have to be welded together and delivered to those displays on the left (this is a pretty basic level). There's a certain amount of work involved in figuring out how to accomplish this, but the real challenge and engineering comes in optimizing your design. You're scored on how many cycles your machine completes the level in, and on how large your machine's footprint is (score is purely for fun, you can pass the levels with any score), and the game's leaderboards are histograms indicating what percentage of the players earned what score. It gives you a way better sense of "Is 100 cycles a fast completion time?" than being told you're ranked #42856 in the world. If the idea of engineering challenges and optimizing solutions appeals to you, I highly recommend you pick this game up.
  2. Hex is a digital trading card game that's a lot like Magic: The Gathering. For comparison, if Hearthstone is 70% Magic DNA, Hex is 90%. I get the feeling that the developers started with the Magic rules and made a few changes, rather than building their own thing from scratch. That's absolutely not a bad thing, I love Magic, so I love a thing that's 90% like Magic. If you've played Magic, imagine that Hex is Magic, but with some card designs that can only work in a digital envrionment: "Return target creature to its owner's hand, that creature's cost increases by 1" or "At the beginning of every turn, create an Ancestral Spirit card and shuffle it into your deck". If you've never played Magic, what sets Hex apart from many other TCGs is the coloured resource system: About 40% of your deck will be coloured resources, and you can put one resource into play each turn. A card could cost 5 mana and have a threshold of two red, which means you can only cast it if you've played five resources, and at least two of them are red. Oh man. The game feels really good. The cards do interesting, complex things and you have lots of opportunities to make interesting gameplay choices and build strongly synergistic decks. The problem I have with a lot of card games is that they feel kind of brainless: decks are just piles of good cards rather than cards that have been assembled to work well together, and gameplay consists mostly of casting your cards when you're able to and hoping the opponent doesn't cast better cards, rather than trying to win with decision-making. Hex doesn't feel like that at all, it's super great you guys! I don't know what any of the other starter decks play like, but the Dwarf deck is a super-fun robot-themed deck and I recommend it. Here's the card that convinced me Hex was a cool game: There are a few gameplay modes. You can challenge random humans in just for fun games, or you can enter tournaments which have entry fees and prizes. I haven't done that yet, so I can't say what it's like. You can also play against AI-controlled bots in Frost Ring Arena to earn gold. You have three lives to beat four increasingly difficult tiers of the arena, with each tier containing four basic bots, and then a super-powerful boss bot. If all you have is a starter deck, you won't get very far, and won't earn much gold, but I've been kicking ass and taking names after buying less than $10 worth of cards at the auction house. The bots are a recently-released beta feature, so they have pretty bad AI, which is compensated for by giving them some powerful, bot-only cards. The dumb AI doesn't hurt it that badly, but the compensation mechanism occasionally leads to games where the bot will do a bunch of super unfair overpowered nonsense that no human deck in the world could beat. It's rare enough that I still have plenty of fun playing bots. Let's talk about the game's economy. You can grind for currency against bots, you can net a profit if you perform well in tournaments, or you can put down some real money and buy in. Grinding bots yields gold, while real money buys platinum, but the key feature is the auction house. As a trading card game, players can sell cards to each other for either gold or platinum. Since the economy has sinks for both of those resources, they become functionally interchangeable, and while you can't literally exchange gold for platinum, there's a semi-consistent exchange rate in the form of the auction house offering any given card for X platinum or [exchange rate]*X gold. Because there's an auction house, it's way more money-efficient to buy cards individually, rather than buy packs and open the packs for random cards (though if you do want the excitement of pack-opening, buy your packs on the auction house, they're way cheaper than packs bought through the in-game store). I'm sure you're bracing for the bad news about how expensive everything is, but I've found that cards are startlingly cheap. I put down $10, spent it at the auction house buying cards, mixed them in with my starter deck, and now I feel like I have a real, competitive deck. I didn't feel constrained by cost at all, I opened up the master list of cards (which has all kinds of useful filters and searching tools, available here), picked every one that I wanted for my deck, and never ran into the feeling of "I want to play this card, but it's a $20 rare". It doesn't feel like Hex is a game where you have to spend a few hundred dollars to be truly competitive, and it doesn't feel like a game where rare cards get printed 50% more powerful than everything else. In conclusion, Hex is the second coming of Trading Card Game Jesus, and you should all go try it, it's free!
  3. I am real fucking sick of this attitude. I'm trying to have a good faith discussion, but if someone expresses an idea you don't understand or agree with, it can't be that human beings have a great diversity of thought and sincere opinion, no that person must be a troll. Internet debate is the worst, I quit.
  4. You caught me, I didn't watch this show because I thought it might be entertaining, but because I wanted to not like it. I spent hours watching Jessica Jones because I wanted to not like it. After watching the show I went to an internet forum to look for excuses not to like it. I also go to restaurants wanting the food to suck, and commute to work hoping to get stuck in traffic. I'd respond to your specifics, but I'm not sure how to have a discussion with someone who thinks that instead of being sincere, I am the Grinch of Television.
  5. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    Having learned that I can buy two 9.4 inch plastic human skeleton models instead of The Witness, I'm not sure I can ever again justify buying a videogаme.
  6. So the creator of The Stanley Parable has a new game out

    That Errant Signal video reminded me of a problem I had with TBG, which I shall now voice. I've tried to keep things detail-light enough to stay out of spoiler tags. The whole "You are playing as yourself: a human who installed this game on your computer and is now playing it" bit made the narrative very confused for me. As the game goes it becomes increasingly implausible that the narrator would have created and released this game for your character to play. At the end, he starts talking to you in a way that made me feel like he's supposed to be in the room with you, watching over your shoulder and talking with you as you play. It left me wondering what was supposed to be happening in the fiction of the game. Did anyone else run into that problem?
  7. Unspoilered for Gormongous: That episode was just a matryoshka of bad decisions that felt like the writers forcing the characters to act suboptimally to avoid them winning before the season was over. It sounds like you are bothered by the exact same things as me, do not watch this show. Edited to add some spoilery thoughts on why I didn't like Kilgrave as a character:
  8. Consortium - now with a new kickstarter

    I have hazy memories of Consortium, which Steam tells me I played for four hours. All the descriptions I heard made me want to get to the special bits of it, but boy, I did not have any fun with it. It started off by dumping twenty thousand words of lore into my glossary. The shooting was awful and the plot seemed to expect me to have read all fifty jillion codex entries to get anything out of it. Hearing from someone who actually liked the game, I'm slightly interested in going back to it, so I have two questions. First, am I really supposed to read all (or at least a lot of) the lore right away? Because there is so much of it, and it's so dry. Second, when does the game get good? I got as far as beating the suit that runs around the ship before, should I keep trying or is not enjoying it by then a sign it's not for me?
  9. Seriously though, if you want the name it's all yours. If you want to use the photoshopped image, let me know so I can make a better one, it bothers me how ugly the C is.
  10. So what you're saying is that we might get a sequel, but never a third Firewatch game?
  11. Nuh-uh, I came up with it in December and even made a lousy photoshop of it in this thread! My dibs have already been called!
  12. Minecraft

    How badly does it run? Just with vanilla graphics, Minecraft, in all its unoptmized glory, outdoes even 2015 AAA games for its ability to tax my machine, I can only imagine it being twice as bad looking like that.
  13. "Cars sucks." - A Pixar Thread

    So, A Bug's Life. I haven't seen it in fifteen years, and I didn't remember any of the plot. I did not like the way the main plot resolved. As Vainamoinen pointed out, it's like Three Amigos, only done worse. Instead of a heroic redemption and road to victory, A Bug's Life has Flik digging himself ever deeper in his comedy of errors, then just when it's all hit rock bottom, he says a few dozen words about how grasshoppers need ants and suddenly the driving problem of the movie is solved. The victory feels cheap and unearned, and the narrative arc of the movie is totally off. On the technical side, I am amazed that this came out in 1998. The early shots with the camera sweeping over fields of wheat must have represented an insane number of animator and rendering hours. Modern technology still isn't good with water, but this movie figured out a clever cheat. By shrinking the scale down to ants, they mostly handled water as individual droplets, essentially glass beads, which are pretty easy. Sometimes it looks weird and they got some water physics wrong, but most humans aren't used to water at that scale so we don't notice nearly as much. Speaking of cheats, instead of depicting the ground as dirt, everything was dirt-coloured gravel, which is a clever solution to the problem of texturing it. Finally, one design complaint. Usually I'm the sort to quietly roll my eyes and ignore this kind of thing, but something about this stuck with me. Gypsy (the moth) has high-heels for feet. Really Pixar? Really?
  14. Nuclear Throne: Oh! I accidentally ate my gun.

    Does anyone understand the Throne 1's AI? I'm not sure if it's more than binary, but there is definitely an aggression switch or slider that gets flipped partway through the fight, which makes it shoot way more green balls, and rapidly alternate laser patterns. Normally I see the Throne get more aggressive once all four generators are destroyed, but I have occasionally observed it happening before then. Just recently I saw exactly when the change happened: I destroyed one generator, walked onto the generator, then dug into the wall with Hammerhead, and the Throne started going nuts (and did not resume normal behaviour once I walked back into the normal area). Normally I don't even touch the walls, I wonder if going too far to one side can trigger its aggro switch. After 62 hours of play I took my first death to Throne 2: apparently its death-explosion can kill you. I'm still not sure if Throne 2 is inherently a cakewalk, or if Throne 1 weeds out all the bad runs (the ones that arrive with nothing but a heavy crossbow and Gatling slugger) leaving only strong ones to face 2.
  15. I Had a Random Thought (About Video Games)

    I'll happily use an emulator for things where you can only buy the game on Ebay for $200. I agree that it would be wise to stick to Steam (or at least, digitally available PC games), anything else limits participation based on console-ownership and/or willingness to emulate.
  16. It can always get worse by adding more colons. Give it a couple years and we have Horizon: Zero Dawn 2: The Reckoning: Digital Deluxe Edition. Or maybe the sequel would be Horizon: One Dawn. I think that's silly enough that it has crossed over from bad to funny again.
  17. I Had a Random Thought (About Video Games)

    I echo SBM's comments: I'm intrigued, completion should be non-mandatory, and I have no idea how we'd pick games.
  18. Life is Strange: Tween Peaks

    I find it interesting that you say episode four stumbled. The very end felt a bit twisty for the sake of being twisty, but overall four was my favorite by a large margin. The first three episodes were very slice-of-life, they established lots of characters, but there wasn't really a "main plot". Four was where the game picked a focus (murder mystery) and stuck with it for a while, and we get the benefit of doing so with characters we know from the first three episodes worth of setup. I agree five was a mess (for so many reasons), but what didn't you like about four, besides the twist?
  19. Spacebase!

    Was it though? To summarize Tim's explanation: "The project wasn't making money so we're ending development." "We're skipping beta because we've been doing bugfixing throughout the alpha stage." "It's not silently pulling the plug because we're telling you a month in advance and putting out one final release." "Sorry about not communicating better. But we didn't tell you about our plans to end development because we hoped we wouldn't have to." "We put the game on sale knowing that development would end, because that's just how Steam works, sales happen." "We're disappointed too, but we worked hard, we still think Spacebase is cool and we hope you check it out." What part of that was honest? What information did he actually give out, that most companies wouldn't have? "We're disappointed too" is obvious, plus it's standard PR and "The project wasn't making money" is obvious without him having to say anything. So we've got a mountain of positive spin, one piece of obvious information, and no apology for the big thing everyone's mad about (ending development). That seems exactly like what most companies would do. I suppose you might say that most companies wouldn't have apologized for poor communication about the state of the project, but when the focus of the anger is on them ending development, that's an awfully faint apology. As for why people feel DF promised or implied a deep sim game with a longer development cycle, Tim himself admits in the linked post that the original plan was a five year dev cycle, and their development roadmap (archived, because the original site is gone) reflected plans to put out a much larger game than they did. Yes, the way EA works, the dev might end development where it stands and walk away, everyone knows that's a risk, but the point is that it's a risk, not the system working as intended. When that happens, something has gone wrong, and even though the dev is allowed to do it, they're breaking the implicit promise of continued development. In the case of DF-9 and the roadmap, that promise was even less implicit than usual. At the very least, they could apologize for breaking that promise.
  20. Tharsis: You roll the dice, you pay the price

    I tried this game and did not care for it. I felt like I was constantly running around putting out fires (sometimes literally), and as a result I never got to make any strategic decisions. "Two events and the ship is heavily damaged, guess I'll fix the events and repair the ship." "Uh-oh, three events this week, guess I'm going to spend the entire week doing repairs." "Two events again. But I'm out of food. So I've got to do repairs plus spend the rest of my time making food." My decision-making process went: 1: Fix events. 2: Fill up whatever bar (health, food, ship) is almost empty 3: Decide where to allocate remaining crew Executing steps 1 and 2 wasn't interesting because it's like playing on autopilot, I almost never made it to step 3, and if I did that meant I was doing pretty well on resources in which case the "rich get richer" design of the game meant that I had already entered easy mode. I guess if you really enjoy doing probability calculations in your head, you could get into the nitty-gritty of the dice game, but I'm way more mathematically-inclined than most, and that does not sound fun to me. Funnily enough, I had some RNG balance issues, and they had nothing to do with the dice (which I felt were smoothed pretty well thanks to Research, Rerolls and Assist). Your crew's starting health and dice are random, the severity of all the events is random, the usefulness of the event's location is random, and with all that, the game's systems are a feedback loop designed to kill you for falling behind, or hand you an easy game if you get ahead.
  21. I'm not sure which category it belongs in, but I have to give special mention to the title whose developers were just screwing with people: AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. When it came out, there were several sites whose formatting was clearly not prepared for a sixty character title, which I got far too much enjoyment from. For worst title, I'd like to nominate Horizon Zero Dawn. Ugh. It's a beautiful-looking game about hunting robot dinosaurs in a post-civilization world, and I've heard from multiple people who reflexively dismissed the game having heard the name and assumed that it was another greybrown cover-shooter. I'll also put forth Dwarf Fortress, which has the four-part title of "Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress".
  22. "Cars sucks." - A Pixar Thread

    I watched this movie dozens of times when I was a kid, but haven't seen it in probably a decade. Still love it. The army men check corners with their guns. They have those plastic-mould marks on them. Sid has an "Improvised Interrogations Manual" in his room, right after the Woody torture scene. I love little details. The textures were pretty simple (at least a few, like glow-in-the-dark Buzz, were a single colour) but I found the graphics impressive overall. You can see the limitations of their tech in the "toys attack Sid" scene: the car surfacing from sand looks pretty bad, and the water has some ugly seams. They use a lot of cheating (we switch to a different angle and distances between things shift, the characters make an unreasonably specific plan [luring Skud out of the house] as though they could tell the future), but all of it works. None of the little things broke my immersion, the work of good pacing. Overall the movie was incredibly tight, you can't find three consecutive seconds that aren't either contributing to the plot or setting up some comedy. I wish they still made 77-minute movies, just because you have room to go to 90 doesn't mean you need to. Regarding the "Toys are sapient, completely subservient, and that's weird" angle, the best analysis I've heard was comparing to the toys to AIs. They artificially created thinking automota, bypassed the traditional Skynet problems, and now benefit from a utopia populated by robots who are happy to serve humans. I should try to dig it up, it probably described things more elegantly than my restating.
  23. How do you organize your steam library?

    Hahaha, organize? (Note the size of the scroll bar)
  24. Recently completed video games

    Oh, that's interesting, the wiki lied to me then. I stand corrected.
  25. Recently completed video games

    You can only get the best ending if you have first completed a non-pacifist route. If you still have a pacifist save near the end, I think you can qualify by turning that run lethal, completing the game, then reloading to pacifist again and pacifisting the game.