Zombie in My Pocket – Let’s Play

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Are zombies passe yet? Yes, they are. Some time ago, this game captured my imagination, and apparently I kept a short log of one play-through. I found it, sitting in my drafts, dating waaaaay back to 2008. I chopped up some old photos I took and put a wrap on it. This is me, playing the free-to-print solo game Zombie In My Pocket.

With a few small decks of cards and a notepad, you role-play an intrepid adventurer trying to stop a zombie uprising by locating and burying an idol in a randomly-generated, besieged house. You must do this by midnight. It’s a roguelike in pocket format.

You do this by laying down square tiles, each representing a room in the house. Each turn, 10 minutes in game-time passes, and an event happens by drawing a card. You might find a weapon, you might fight some zombies, or you can take a moment to rest and gain some health back. In all, you have 18 turns to finish the game.

In my experience, it was a pretty well-balanced game, giving you maybe 40%-60% odds of winning each time, with room for tactical choices. A really nicely-designed gem, and free, to boot. Read, and enjoy the purple prose.

Three Hours to Midnight

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9:00pm – At the center of the terror lies a house. Continue reading

Delta Fist Archive Opened (Arma II Missions)

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Enter the Fist. Yes, that’s ripped from Hunter S. Thompson’s “Gonzo” party poster.

I’m creating a new set of missions for Arma II: Operation Arrowhead, forming a loose campaign, for my friends’ weekly games night, and hosting them here. A new page is available to host these missions at the Delta Fist Arma Mission Map Case.

I’m a horrifically lazy person, so these will all (or nearly all) be created using the wonderful tool PlannedAssault, with a few minor hand-edits here and there. My goal is to spit out one a week or so, plus a dumb graphic to go with each one. They’ll march up and down the avenues of Chernarus, or at least the areas supported by PlannedAssault.

These missions are of course, all free. See the page for more details! Go there now.

2 Hours of Star Trek Online and Impressions

It's not often I play a game where female characters are essentially equal in characteristics to males.
It’s not often I play a game where female characters are essentially equal in characteristics to males.

These are my brief impressions on the newbie experience of Star Trek Online, which is free to play.

I’ve never played an MMO before. By and large, I don’t find the descriptions of their systems to be very compelling for the amount of time they demand. They seem to be designed around systems of repetitive “grinding” to prolong the gameplay and maintain return customers. Most damning of all, I have no real life friends that play these, which all but removes the point of playing them. So, warning: I come into this with some bias. Continue reading

Here for the Ambience: Currently Listening to [Sol System] – Venus (Ambient Mix)

Currently listening to: Venus, mixed by Alex Hephaestion.
Currently listening to: Venus, mixed by Alex Hephaestion.

Current: ambient-nights.org is undergoing a site revision, and downloads are temporarily available only via the forum, which requires a free registration. Don’t let that stop you, this is good stuff!

Post: When I was a kid, I was fascinated with science shows. I was a huge nerd, in a time where nerdiness was much more of a liability, or so it seemed to me. At any rate, one of my favorite shows was a first-year university course in physics called The Mechanical Universe. Much more than a lecture series loaded with equations, it also had cool animations describing the weirdness of things like the effects of near speed-of-light travel, and wonderful ambient music playing throughout. It was like a trip to the planetarium, every time, and I would always come back with a little more understanding of how nature worked, and a ton more questions to go along with it. Continue reading

Because Stars Matter: Starshatter (Sci-Fi Flight Sim) is Free!

Entering orbit in an F-34D, a slower multi-purpose fighter.

Update

The original host site, Starshattermods.com, succumbed to hacking and is down. Hard Light Productions, a fantastic community that grew around Freespace Open, has generously taken up hosting the Starshatter forums here. Starshatter files are hosted in this thread. I still have some of the files, please let me know in the comments if you have any trouble obtaining them.

The Short

Starshatter: The Gathering Storm is a moderately complex, moderately realistic, spaceborne military flight sim that takes place in a series of dynamic campaigns. It won’t change your life, but it ain’t bad.

The Good:

  • it’s not too punishing or difficult. It strives for a moderate amount of realism, but offers an optional video-gamey control scheme
  • takes place in four dynamically shifting war campaigns, rather than a static set of missions or a bland open world design
  • graphics and sounds are good for such a small studio, but won’t blow your entire head off
  • receive promotions! Start flying fighter craft, and move upward to capital ships, even become an admiral and direct the course of the war.
  • heck, it’s FREE and open source!
  • fairly open to modding
  • rewards come after overcoming the learning curve, about 4-6 hours, perhaps less if you’ve flown flight sims before

The Bad:

  • a bit repetitive, a bit spare, a bit bland. It’s a quasi-military flight sim, there’s not a lot of character here.
  • lack of variety in ships
  • reportedly difficult and tedious to create your own missions
  • no multiplayer campaign

Read on for the review, or skip to the “Getting It” section for info on how to get it!

Continue reading

Conelrad releases Five Automatic Landings (Free ambient music)

One of my favorite artists, Conelrad, has released a new EP, the first in a couple years.

Five Automatic Landings cover art

Five Automatic Landings is five tracks and about an hour of ambient drone. If you’re at all familiar Conelrad, you’ll get the quality you usually expect, and may even notice some familiar signatures latent within the tracks. If you like ambient music, and you’re new to the artist, well, you’re definitely in for a treat.

And is it free? It’s free as hell and death, friends, and so is the entire discography. Go get some.

I reviewed one of Conelrad’s tracks early on in this blog. Lots of post-apocalyptic ash drifting silently from the skies, and an unlikely tie-in with Half Life 2. Read about that here.

Back cover with track listing.

(link fodder)

An Extremely Minor Reason to Upgrade to iTunes 10

There’s one extremely minor reason to upgrade to iTunes 10 (if you must use iTunes at all), and that’s the fact that Apple seems to have finally figured out how to provide an attractive, intelligent, and functional manner for displaying cover art outside of the main application. No need for a separate CD cover art app any longer.

Standing alone as an album art viewer (this is as small as it gets):

When the mouse hovers over it, iTunes controls show:

Here’s how to get it working:

  1. Click the album art pane in iTunes (see image below).
  2. Move and adjust the cover art window.
  3. Minimize iTunes, because it is still ugly.
  4. Hover over the album art to control iTunes, or use an alternative method (see links below).
  5. Get on with life and living.
Click for larger

Of course, you can also continue to use hotkey solutions as I describe in earlier posts:

iTunes can be downloaded here.

Still not hot on iTunes 10? Here’s how to install it without extra crap that you don’t need.

Hero Core: Blow Up a Whole Asteroid Filled with Angry Robots

It's time to shoot some things in space.

I’ve been waiting for this one. You can’t browse for three feet on the internet without running into a retro game these days. These are the consequences, I’m afraid, for a generation of kids who grew up playing NES games that cost around $40-$50 a pop: you never got enough, and now with a multitude of free tools and talent, free retro platformers are everywhere. You can afford to be picky, to wait for the game with just the right mix of difficulty, nostalgia, and creativity to come around.

Hero Core has been worth waiting for. I won’t waste your time with too many words, you should probably start downloading it now.

Gameplay is focused on exploration of a large world, with locked-off bits opening after periodic equipment upgrades, much like in the Metroid series. Your character controls like a fighter from a shoot-em-up: no jumping, you simply float around in the vacuum of the enemy lair, propelled by jets built into your suit.

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