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Everything posted by Trithemius

  1. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    Hi there, I think there are plenty of examples of the game you outline - I think many of them are mentioned in the podcast and in this thread in fact! What I took from the podcast, and the follow-up comments here, is that there is a group of people that would like to see something else. I think the warring inkblots model can work fine for multiplayer: especially where everyone being more or less identical and player strategy and diplomacy being the determining factors (e.g. Neptune's Pride?) is a plus. I think this isn't an asset in singleplayer games and I got the distinct impression that SP was the focus; I might have been wrong about that though? Cheers,
  2. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    Hiya Sorbicol, I absolutely agree. I found it kind of bizarre in Endless Space that Infinite Information Highways (a happiness building) would make my Hivers (horrible hungry space locust dudes) happier. I could imagine it would make the Sophons pleased, as they are arch-nerds, but it was odd for me that it'd do the same thing for Hivers. I imagine a lot of the reason of lack of unique gear for non-humans is because the investment isn't worth it on the part of the developer - people who don't play as that race/civ/whatever won't ever see those things so why invest a lot of time? I think the winning thing needs to be kicked around a bit more too. Winning, for a society, isn't something that really happens. Totally dominant cultures, militaries, and governments are mythological things - survival is really the only "win" and that is only able to be assessed over time and in reference to the challenges faced. This is sort of what I meant by replacing "victory" with achievements. If your pluralistic society manages to survive a war against a militaristic society perhaps that is more interesting than your totally-militarised society defeating their totally-militarised society? "Racial" victory conditions are really mostly stereotypical manifestations of the "unique" or "specialist" attributes of non-human societies - they might be less needed if those societies could be modelled in a more interesting way?
  3. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    I thought this was a great episode; I found myself saying "Yes! Yes!!! YES!!!" a lot and also wondering if people had been listening to my own spacegame-related rantings. It is always good to have one's own opinions reflected. I was writing an (increasingly lengthy) expansion on the themes in the podcast but I thought I would spare you. Instead I thought about these dot points which mix "yeah me toos!" and further thinking that was inspired by the podcast: Bigger isn't better: micromanagement isn't fun (even if you are a bureaucrat like I am) - focus on consequential, gameplay/narrative changing decisions. There isn't Only War: emphasis on the social (political and economic) aspects of a future space-based society; plug into social sci-fi ideas; make not-choosing an interesting choice; let government and/or society drive the game more. Wants and Needs: people want stuff; even space people. Wants should be complex and make narrative sense (or "Why Do My Space Locusts Love The Internet?" - thanks Endless Space). Wants could also be negative: people don't want cloning, don't want alien ideas, or don't want aliens living near them. Victory is bunk: no society "wins" (SMAC transcend aside...) replace "winning" with more complex achievements; and self-imposed goals, ala-Paradox Interactives grand strats. Space terrain: more interesting terrain which allows geographical metaphor to be used; rather than a glorified graph (nodes and edges). Storied ships: rather than three hundred Cruiser MkIII have fewer and more important ships, with meaningful character, so that the refit cycle is important and so you can feel bad when the USS Enterprise explodes or good when it scrapes through. Technology that is important: techs which change the game, not just give incrementally bigger guns. Technological impact is one of the themes of sci-fi and it should have the power to tremendously change the civ's society and the game mechanics. (I like the background to Downbelow Station and Spock's speech about the Earth-Romulan War in The Balance of Terror for examples of this kind of thing). More, but better, bureaucracy: take away choice, force leaders to act like leaders (The PM doesn't design the new warships). Make a lot of the influence indirect: research funding, "tendering" processes for new ship designs, more of what Victoria 2 does with POPs and capitalists, governors, military doctrines and fleet composition being limited based on funding or technology... basically a lot of the stuff that was in the MoO3 design docs that didn't get in to the game or wasn't made to work. Characters: all those admirals, capitalists, governors, and researchers could become interesting characters in their own rights (more Crusader Kings 2, less Victoria 2). Opposition parties, military factions, conspiring businessmen can all become part of the mix. No need to go an RPG route here (Just Say No To Levels!) but people do invest in characters - and you can then have the Enterprise but make the choice between Kirk vs. Picard and deal with the outcomes of that decision. Does this sort of stuff take us far away from the 4X genre? No, I don't think so. Does it take us further away from what MoO was? Yes, probably, and (as many have said) about time too! I'd be happy to expand on any of these if people fancy a chat!
  4. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    Stars Without Number ( might also work for the old school space sensibilities of Traveller/Jagged Alliance. Again with the pencils though.
  5. Shogun 2: Total War

    The Shimazu can shark those incense ports pretty quick, which probably helps with big tarriff and trade income! I didn't use ashigaru much at all really - I found that chasing after hordes of the fleeing buggers with my general in order to try and rally them got old pretty quick. I also was highly amused at several units of them getting worried and fleeing the field after the "End Battle/Continue" screen popped up and triggered the 'mopping up' phase. I guess they are squeamish?
  6. Shogun 2: Total War

    Very nice AAR Squid-sama! I've been enjoying the game myself, and I regret not taking a lot of screenshots now... perhaps I shall for my next run? It seems the Chokosabe are very popular! They have (a) good missiles, ( income bonuses, © a fairly defensible position that becomes basically impregnable with caravels. I think everyone I have talked to so far has started out with them.
  7. Ordered Three DS games

    Sounds like something to look forward to...
  8. Ordered Three DS games

    Okay! I don't understand this post, so I guess we are even toblix.
  9. Editorial: Dealing with Death

    Awww. Play the game?
  10. Gears of War for Windows

    Totally off-topic: You know you have been reading too much about Early Modern Europe when you read this sentence and you immediately think of the Hussars of the Rzeczpospolita...
  11. Editorial: Dealing with Death

    Morrowind is, at some level, about a statist plot to consciously manipulate the power of prophecy. The introduction is a weird dream where the protagonist is addressed by an important figure of prophetic power, and is then woken up by a creepy-looking elf. (there is a video here but the speech seems to be disabled* (which sucks). As an aside: I find it a very effective introduction to the game (Bethesda seem to do the start of their games quite well, but the endings not so well). This kind of thing really appeals to me (and makes it obvious that Ken Rolston** has a history that involves Glorantha). * The Imperial Library has the words spoken: "They have taken you from the Imperial City's prison, first by carriage and now by boat, to the east to Morrowind. Fear not, for I am watchful, you have been chosen." ** Anyone else remotely excited about the idea of that BHG/THQ rpg that he is steering?
  12. Editorial: BioShock: The Game that Wasn't

    Maybe the point of the last third of the game was that the designers were trying to say something like: when it all comes down to it, philosophy is a wank - staying alive and (if you are playing nicely) helping out a bunch of abused children is just more important. I'm not sure I'm willing to assume that much post-modern thinking on the part of the designers, and I am very sure that its not the best way to tell a good story; but perhaps the problems stem from too much philosophical sophistication, rather than too little? Or perhaps I am just still trying to get some mileage (kilometreage?) out of my undergraduate degree? P.S. Sorry for the "thread-necromancy".
  13. Editorial: Dealing with Death

    I still find the way that Morrowind deals with critical-NPC-death to be one of the most interesting. It's not particularly intrusive and, although it presumes a knowledge of extratemporal phenomena that might not mesh well with everyone's self-image of their character, it does fit in with the themes of the game. It also lets you keep on doing whatever it was you were doing in the first place and doesn't arbitarily decide that you are more interested in the overarching narrative than in that of your character. Other sand-boxy games could learn a whole lot from that (e.g. GTA:SA which anchors access to the games features to the progress of the main story). P.S. Hi brkl!
  14. Big Huge RPG

    Anyone heard much about this? I only recently found out, and I am quite excited about Ken Rolston's involvement (both because of his role in Morrowind, and his earlier conventional RPG stuff like Glorantha and Paranoia). I'm hoping it is something to do with the Rise of Legends setting. Anyone else have wild speculations? P.S. Hi again!
  15. Big Huge RPG

    Aw Froppery, you are too too kind...
  16. Big Huge RPG

    I get the impression he was much less involved in Oblivion than Morrowind - he seemed to imply as much in an interview (where he said he liked Morrowind more because he had more control in it). He's not Robin D Laws (and if anyone says something against Robin D Laws then I will cut them) but I think he did a good job with Morrowind. I'm also a bit of a fan of the old skool table-top RPG things he did though, so maybe I am biased. Hmm, I wonder when people are going to start trying to get Robin D Laws to help with computer games? They got to Jon Tynes...
  17. Anyone else out there playing Medieval II Total War or the recently released Rome Total War conversion mod Europa Barbarorum whose 0.8 version was also just released? Or is everyone here all "Wiiiiiii!" or something?
  18. Medieval II Total War (hey strategy types!)

    Greatly delayed reply! From Rome Total War onwards there has been a more "realistic" strategic map, instead of the Risk-like one in Shogun and Medieval Total War. I find this radically changes the way your strategies have to develop since things like the Alps and massive steppes and straits become serious barriers. The best mod for RTW 1.5 is Europa Barbarorum! I have a link in my signature-block. I hear that the LotR one and Chivalry are pretty darn good though, however I really find Europa Barbarorum to be something special.
  19. Medieval II Total War (hey strategy types!)

    I like my little Latinikon guy, although I really do wish they would include printable tech trees and unit trees for all the factions on the install CD though (Turkish recruitment is a bit of a magical mystery tour).
  20. Consolevania and VideoGaiden

    The sketches are great and bizarre; the reviews are funny and informative *glares at Marek* - the guys are putting out best games-related tv I have ever seen and I hope they can keep going on, and getting more time and more funding, into the future.
  21. Darklands

    Why hasn't some bright spark remade Darklands with TESIV: Oblivion? I mean, c'mon?!
  22. Darklands

    Harsh! And after all I have done for you! It's a now-ancient game where you trudge around 16th C. Germany ostensibly trouncing witches for money. Very early sandbox-style game. I don't honestly know why you would think that they are nigh identical? The premise is roughly the same (go to some places and do some things) but the same can be said for *many* games. There are salient differences in tone, and setting, which I find interesting.
  23. Jack Thompson is back....

    Whoo Breaker Morant!
  24. Cancel the Simpsons?

    It's rubbish these days. When you find yourself more interested in seeing an ancient episode that you have seen at least twenty times rather than sit through one of the new ones, you know that the series has gone on too long.
  25. What are you playing today?

    Finished HL2 Episode 1 recently, and, invoking the no-dissing clause implemented by Yufster, I have downloaded Space Empires IV Deluxe ("spreadsheets in spaaaaace!") from Steam and been playing it like mad thing. I'm waiting for Civilisation IV Warlords because I seem to basically buy anything that franchise vomits forth (and because I hope to see some more variety in late-era units) and I have not got around to playing the Rise of Legends demo still, even though I am extremely curious about it (and I normally don't go in for RTSes). Oh, and I played the Shadowgrounds in the hope that it would recreate my youthful fondness for Alien Breed but it didn't really - I can't decide if its less good or if I am just less enthused these days about games I played when I was 11. EDIT: I totally forgot, since it seems to be part of my daily routine almost, but before I started on SEIVD I was playing the Europa Barbarorum mod for Rome Total War (go Casse!). It still interests me a lot more than the recent official expansion for it that Creative Assembly put out).