Tuesday, 31 July 2007

free web game

seen on Tales of the Rampant Coyote:

I'm sure someone out there is just dying for a game all about slapping girls.

Don't worry, it's okay! You're a *girl* slapping girls!

... still not really my thing.

Ninja SLAP!!!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

the ongoing titan quest saga

So, I've taken to running the game in small doses and only when the room is cool, and haven't had any more trouble. Small doses is good anyway, since the game is click-heavy... ESPECIALLY for my hit-and-run assassin. My hand gets tired.

Trying the game on a computer with a vastly superior graphics card? Led to the graphics card going into a panic attack about lack of power and throttling the owner.

Clearly, my antiquated methods are superior.

I'm level 20-something at the moment, in Egypt, with a damage-per-second of around 180-190. I don't know if that's good or not. Of course, considering all the random chances and damage-over-times I have on the character I don't know if that's accurate or not, either. All I can say is that most things die pretty fast.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

i spoke too soon

Fighting a cyclops, combined with summer and the room being slightly warmer, led me back to shutdown land.

When I described my character as an assassin, I hadn't yet realised that that *is* the official class title for a Rogue/Warfare cross. I just thought it seemed an appropriate word for what I was doing. Apparently the game designers agree with me. So, there are titles for every combination? I think I'll just look them up rather than play them all out...

trying this again

After taking out my video card and giving it a good thumping (and some technical details having to do with making sure the fan was seated properly) Titan Quest is now running without making my machine divebomb.

Take that, all you bleeding-edge proponents. MY ANCIENT CARD WORKS JUST FINE.

Okay, so, back to the game. My first character build is, so far, a Rogue/Warfare assassin type - warfare taken so that I can hike my attack speed and get dual-wielding. I want to pounce on people and cut them to ribbons. I also grab the attention of individuals at a distance by throwing knives at them. A lot of them bleed to death before they can mange to reach me. Undead don't bleed. I don't like undead.

Targeting, UNLIKE Lionheart, is smooth and forgiving. I click roughly near a monster, I go kill it. Picking up items is slightly more fiddly, especially since the ground is littered with broken items you don't want to pick up, but that's okay. Slaughter first, then take time to loot.

Positioning and paying attention to it matters. A long-distance magic attack coming towards you can easily be dodged if you're looking. And opening big likely-to-be-trapped chests? Click to open it, then GET OUT OF THE WAY while the opening animation runs and you'll be fine. I don't know if that delay is intended or not, but it works for my sneaky playstyle. I poke things with sticks, then back off.

I have only died once so far, from being jumped on by too many undead to kill at once. Usually I am not in any danger from normal monsters, and am capable of fleeing from bosses. Difference from Diablo - there is a cooldown period on most activities, preventing you from doing them again immediately. THIS INCLUDES DRINKING POTIONS. You cannot just slam ten potions while fighting a big tough thing. You can drink ONE. (Potions also seem weirdly strong, and while I do pick up different sizes of potions, they all stack into one undifferentiated slot.) But again, this really isn't a problem, because my / this character's playstyle is to jump in and out of trouble.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Titan Quest review

I like this game, it's fun. Yet another blatant diablo-steal of course (I guess it's just a genre now) but the little 3d touches are cool without overwhelming me with confusion. Waving grass! Majestic landscapes! Bodies flying in the air when I wallop them!

Unfortunately, those little 3d touches are overwhelming my graphics card, and my computer has developed the tendency to overheat and shutdown after 30 minutes of playtime.

It is summer and not exactly cold in this room, but it's the game, not the computer. I'm not sure whether I should look for more fans or give up and replace my trusty old ti4200. Yes, it's an old card. But the game *looks* fine, the card can render the graphics... it just can't take the heat.

Friday, 13 July 2007

giant pile of games to download

Top 100 Independent Games

If that doesn't keep you busy for a while you have way too much free time on your hands.

A lot of them are not to my taste but even I don't have the time to whine about all 100 at the moment.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Sword of the New World

I really wanted to like this game.

Really. It's got lovely graphics - where else can I dress characters in such huge skirts or so much lace? Boys and girls alike, everybody gets to be pretty. Some people complain that you can't customise those pretty pretty looks very well, or that the combat is too much like an RTS and not enough like a typical MMORPG... but personally I'm fine with just saying 'go kill those things' to my characters and letting them get on with it.

No, what wrecked the experience for me was the camera controls.

Maybe some people find it natural to right-click and drag with the mouse to see where they're going at the same time that they're trying to left-click somewhere else to actually go there. Personally, I find it mind-boggling.

Why can't I rotate the camera with WASD, or the arrow keys, or anything else? How am I supposed to left click somewhere and also right click and drag at the same time? (Well, for people who are better able to handle spinning the world around, you adjust the camera first. I'm awkward with the camera and don't want to have to freely and manually position it every single minute. If I can get it to a good angle, I'd like to leave it there and just rotate it for a while. But no can do.)

Or maybe I just need two mice. I wonder if that would work? ... nah.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

but doesn't everyone like to play with cars?

First noticed on Rampant Games, the news that Auto Assault is shutting down.

Makes me a little sad, but then - I wasn't paying for membership either.

I'm not sure why, really. I played trials once or twice. I had a fairly good time. I drove around making vrooming noises and banging into stuff and knocking it over. A friend of mine and I tore around the racetrack quest and he won even though my car was much faster, because he was sticking to the course carefully and I was taking all the jumps and wandering around recklessly, so I was never getting that far ahead, and then near the end of the run I banged into something and by the time I could get myself back in line and pointed at the goal again, he'd already won.

It was fun. But I guess it wasn't *compelling* fun. Everybody likes having toy cars and pushing them around the floor and banging them into dominoes and knocking stuff over... but nobody buys a subscription to it.

Also, the sound of tires grinding can really give me a headache after a while.

However, to some extent this is part of what puts me off online games. My ability to play the game is totally subject to someone else's whim. The company goes under? They decide to shut down the game? Sucks to be me. Like all those poor bastards who paid for Uru: Ages Beyond Myst only to have the online part shut down before it really got off the ground. (Although I think they reopened it again later, or let the fans host it, or something. I forget.)

If I pay for a game, I like having ownership. I don't like the idea of the game developers being able to rewrite the code and functions of something I already have and enjoy. And I certainly don't like them being able to take it away.

This doesn't mean I never play MMORPGs - I'll talk about the one that I did pay for later. But I buy a lot more offline games than online. Because I DON'T TRUST PEOPLE.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

why have a job when you can play one instead?

I do not understand the so-called time management games. They are incredibly popular. They are incredibly pointless.

Basically, they are games in which you portray a lovely young lady who has a New Job! A new boring job that involves taking care of lots of demanding customers, who will stalk off in a huff and leave you penniless if not constantly satisfied! So if, say, you're playing Lisa The Librarian, then people will walk in and wait for you to click on them to find out what book they want, then click on a shelf to find it, then click on them again to give them the book, while occasionally clicking on children to prevent them from knocking over the bookshelves.

This is not fun. Although it's probably slightly more fun than actually having a job.

This is not really a game either. There's not a lot of skill there - you just click in the right place at the right time. You can't click in a really clever way and do a pirouette while carrying your stack of books. You just fetch and carry, rinse and repeat. (Hrm, I wonder if there's a hairdresser game yet? Yes. Yes there is.)

I've played through one of these games all the way to the end in the hopes that at least the storyline might reward me for all my effort, but no. Just about half a second of 'Oh gee, this job has really made me feel happy about myself!' as a reward for winning. And it was absolutely never difficult. There were no decisions to make. There was no struggle to remember who wanted what. Just click here, get this, take it there.

So WHY are these games so popular?

Anyway, if you want to pretend that you have a job baking cakes, changing diapers, flipping burgers, or mixing smoothies, go ahead. I'd rather play a game.

dungeon runners

Is crap. Not even gonna link to it.

The biggest problem for me is that the visuals were so murky I couldn't tell the monsters from the trees. I walked past monsters and did not see them. (If you've played Diablo 2, you know that section with the tiny blowgun dudes? Same problem.)

To even run it you had to download an extra NCsoft client of some sort and I'm not sure what the point of that was except probably to try to sell you more stuff. Especially since Dungeon Runners is 'free' (but has constant rainbow sparkles yelling 'PAY FOR ME!' all the time)

Also, it thought it was funny. It was not. Almost anyone who claims to be witty and tongue-in-cheek about parodying the cliches of the genre is full of fail, it's almost always heavy-handed and crass, and rubbing our nose in 'Hey, this is that stupid thing all games like this do!' makes it more noticeable and more annoying, not less.

Anyway, if you want a proper review of the thing, try here instead - I uninstalled it already.

If you want to play a fun light-hearted dungeon romp in the Diablo vein, play Fate instead. It's still dumb but it'll keep you happy longer. At least, it did for me.

also known as

Why do people feel the need to rename games in different territories, other than just to confuse anyone trying to have a conversation about them online?

In America, it's Kirby Canvas Curse - in Europe it's Kirby's Power Paintbrush. Both perfectly good titles, both have something to do with painting, neither one resembles the original Japanese title of Touch Kirby - so WHY are there two different titles?

In America, it's Fatal Frame which is a good title since it's about fighting with a camera (frame, get it?) and the phrase 'fatal frame' is even used in the game itself as part of the fighting mechanic. Also, it's a nice searchable phrase that is almost always going to mean this game. What did they call it in Europe? Project Zero, which doesn't mean anything at all, since that sounds like the title of some sort of science-fiction experiment, which this isn't. Okay, this happened because someone tried to translate the Japanese title while failing to understand that the whole point of the Japanese title was the way that Japanese words can have extra meanings...

In America, it's Indigo Prophecy - elsewhere it's Fahrenheit. In this case the title change probably makes sense - for one thing the 'Indigo' phenomenon actually does come up in the game, for another websearching for 'Fahrenheit' is obviously going to get you a bunch of unrelated hits and not do your web marketing any good. Why was it called that in the first place?