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

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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

Cheap Fleets: AI War Fleet Command Almost Completely on Sale

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Your starting equipment in AI War: Fleet Command. You can’t afford to lose it!

I have the mind of a petulant child and the schedule of a grown man, it’s a horribly wonderful thing. Therefore, it’s hard to gaze at the abyss — an abyss of 30,000 idling ships, a hostile monolithic enemy, and a whole galaxy to retake — and not feel my fingers twitch. And ding! my phone reminds me to get the heck back on task.

AI War: Fleet Command is one of my favorite games of the past three years, and it’s as monumentally fascinating as it is difficult to approach. Its systems are fresh and new, and therefore strange and scary, but once you dive in, it’s extremely involving and frankly, there isn’t much like it.

And it’s on sale, nearly all of it, on Steam. The whole kit and kaboodle is under ten bucks. Roll call: Continue reading

One Hour With Deus Ex: Project 2027

Your first real mission starts you out with quite an arsenal compared to the original.

I wanted that good old UT engine RPG feel so I went to GOG, thinking I’d pick up Deus Ex there, and, well, it’s $10 (their high price point). Aw, hell naw.

So I got off my lazy behind, found my old Deus Ex CD, installed it, and decided to look for mods. I went for Project 2027, since it seems to be an all-new game based on Deus Ex, and it looks like they may have actually finished it.

So far, it definitely has the Deus Ex thing going for it: some expositional play that has you learning the game culture by strolling through an area mostly foreign to you, mysterious AI communing directly with my brains, lengthy conversations with NPCs, clues laying around all over the place, all that great stuff. (I wonder why I have patience for this but didn’t last more than a few hours in Mass Effect. Ah, I know why, I’m old and tired, and Mass Effect is so much work.) 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

AI War: Pocket Reference

So, AI War: Fleet Command is quite an intimidating game. You’re in control of a growing number of units (from a few hundred to many thousands), against a pair of unpredictable AI personalities with the power to overwhelm you at a misstep. All progressing in real time. Oh, dear.

The game mitigates this by giving you semi-autonomous units that don’t need babysitting, and an assortment of effective orders to give them. You mostly control the pace of the game through your offensive actions, so you also control how violent the AI becomes in response. It’s designed to get your mental gears moving, but luckily it doesn’t devolve into a click fest.

But it does kind of turn into a “what was that control again,” and “what the hell do I do now” fest. Instead of printing out the manual and hotkey guide (both of which are out of date), or playing the 4-hour tutorial again, or interrupting the game to check the controls, I made a short, economic reference for AI War. It’s 8 tiny pages and fits in a pocket. Continue reading

Raw Notes for Independence War 2 – Tweaks

The following is a raw dump of notes I made while trying to figure out the optimal settings  for the fantastic classic space sim, Independence War 2. Again, this is quite raw and I may come back later to finalize it.

iw2 config hacks (if any)

 Joystick Deadzones
 - in flux.ini:
 - [fcInputDeviceDI]
     - dead_zone_x = 0.175
     - dead_zone_y = 0.175
     - dead_zone_z = 0.175
     - dead_zone_rx = 0.175
     - dead_zone_ry = 0.175
     - dead_zone_rz = 0.175
 - setting them to 0.1 works pretty well.

Set password for multiplayer in flux.ini:
 - [FcServer]
     - password = "1234"
 - [FCClient]
     - password = "1234"
 - passwords must match, even for the host.

Set resolution and set windowed in flux.ini:
 - [fcGraphicsDeviceD3D]
 - windowed mode can be dynamically resized to any resolution!

from the elite mod, edit flux.ini for more difficulty:
 - [icPlayerPilot]
     - max_rem_range changed from 50000 -> 100000
     - (increases the detection range for your ship? remote control range?)
 - [icShip]
     - critical_damage_scale changed from 0.2 -> 0.5
     - criticals_per_impact changed from 0.2 -> 0.5
     - (increases your ship damage... and the chances of ship damage? hard to say.)
 - [icTacticalCamera]
     - field_of_view changed from 1.2 -> 1.75
     - (fov is increased in the tac cam)
 - [iiSim]
     - collision_damage_factor changed from 3.5 -> 4
     - (damage from collisions increased)

Raw Notes for Independence War 2 – Mods

blue_swirls_crThe following is a raw dump of notes I made while trying to figure out the value of the various mods available for the fantastic classic space sim, Independence War 2. Again, this is quite raw and I may come back later to finalize it. (For now if you want to read the unwrapped text, you’ll have to copy it and paste it into another doc.)

= IW 2 Mods =
my reviews and impressions

sources:
- http://www.i-war2.com/downloads.htm
- http://www.i-war2.com/assoc_mods.htm
- http://www.i-war2.com/downloads_5.htm
- http://www.i-war2.com/wetwired/
- http://www.torn-stars.com
- http://mods.firstones.com/buda5/iwar2/index.html

= Installing Mods =
     - Generally, simply place in the game root /mods folder. No need to unzip, much of the time. See the mods' readme files for specific requirements.
     - Backup flux.ini if manually editing or if a mod is going to edit it.
     - Mods may mess up savegames, but there's sometimes something in the readme if they do.

= The Short List =
* - tweaking required/optional

The Essential Mods - worth installing even on a first play
     - Multimod - allows multiple mods to be used at once.
     - Free roaming - allows free roaming play after the game is over.
         - in the GOG version, this mod is preinstalled, but will not show on the mods menu. (Check /resource if you don't believe me.)
     - Custom Jafs - give Jafs a bigger cargo ship
         * these settings appear once the mod is selected:
         - [CustomJafs]
             - jafs_cargo_loading_delay = 0-15 (seconds, 0 default)
                 - not sure what base game default is
             - jafs_comments = 0 (none), 1 (cargo comments off), 2 (all on)
                 - game default is 2, mod default is 0
             - jafs_ship = (ship location?) default is a 20 pod Venice freighter
                 - base game has ~8 slots, often necessitating multiple trips

Continue reading